THE Hobart City Council paid its money and hired the Battery Point Community Hall on Thursday night (2.11.06) for a public presentation on the purpose and content of proposed amendments to the local planning scheme in relation to the slip yards area.

These amendments are on display at the HCC Customer Service Centre, 16 Elizabeth St. and can be viewed on the Council’s web site http://www.hobartcity.com.au. Either of these options might give you a better chance to concentrate and think for yourself than was experienced at the meeting in the hall.

In the Power Pint corner, at the top of the hall, was the HCC bloke, there with facts in head and on the screen, along with matching clever pics (one made substantial buildings disappear from view), to explain it all.

In the Batty Pint corner, — well a third of the way along the wall, in a slightly hunched mind-body harmony — stood the local lad whose specialty is sitting duck shooting.

With the spiked task of suggesting change to some of the fossilizing inhabitants of the Point the HCC bloke’s job was made more difficult by the fact that in the past, despite the existence of the 1979 Planning Scheme, some shockers have been let through.

There’s one behind this writer’s house. Where last year there was a decent bit of green, a few fruit trees and all the worms, bugs and birds that go with them there is now fence to fence freshly laid and layered, sharply angled concrete. Sheets of glass scream in contrast to everything beween themselves and Tolman’s Hill.  The fencer hasn’t finished yet, leaving me with no back gates and worrying about how to stop my dog getting out. No need. Beyond the fence-line it’s so sterile that the dog, sniffing nothing, goes no further.

So, back to the hall where the HCC bloke explains that the bottom line is that council assets, such as the land beneath the slip yards, need to bring in a better return and as we all know the slip yards are slipping.

Council thinking is that slip yard related activities might be the go. Yes, even including places for people to sit and look at the river and have something to eat and drink while they do so. Also known as restaurants. And possibly including places for people to buy things. Also known as shops. Which would, of course, of course, have to comply with the amended planning schemes regulations.  Height, area covered, access, nature of businesss, parking, signage and all of this in relation to neighbourhood amenity — all the usual stuff.

At the mention of any one of these and the criteria covering them, the local bloke, shoulder to the wall, would call out,
— Is that discretionary?

Once was possibly relevant. Twice was repetitive. Thrice irritating. And so it went until, really, it was in the realms of bullying. It’s being sorted in the work-place. They’re on to it in schools. But here in Batty Point it remains an art form.

His argument, which could have been put a thousand reasonable ways with highly visible eye-sores to back him up was, presumably, that trusting the council to comply with its own plan doesn’t always work.

In return the council contender tried to hold that the present scheme is chocka with discretion — and that the new proposals would be in fact laying down some clearer guide-lines. Fat chance.

And so it went on. And on. And on.

I have never thought a power-point presentation is the way to go. They usually have me sliding to the floor with anticipated boredom before the first image is up.  But in this sand-pit competition between the heckler and the lap top, the silver screen won hands down. It was interesting. It said more than one thing. It didn’t repeat itself unless asked to. Rivetting stuff when the alternative is the drip, drip, drip of a faulty tap.

The evening was an action lesson in two ways to present an idea.

Barry Holmes was doing it for thoughts supported by something, even if it is only technology while John Roberts did it for one idea supported by a wall.

Margot Giblin

I have never thought a power-point presentation is the way to go. They usually have me sliding to the floor with anticipated boredom before the first image is up.  But in this sand-pit competition between the heckler and the lap top, the silver screen won hands down. It was interesting. It said more than one thing. It didn’t repeat itself unless asked to. Rivetting stuff when the alternative is the drip, drip, drip of a faulty tap.