Hobart City Council
Open meeting: Monday 27th February 2012
5.10 pm   Hobart Town Hall     Macquarie St

Present: Lord Mayor Damon Thomas, Deputy Lord Mayor Ron Christie, Aldermen Marti Zucco, Eva Ruzicka, Peter Sexton, Rob Valentine, Jeff Briscoe, Helen Burnet, Philip Cocker, Bill Harvey, Sue Hickey, Leo Foley.

Some Agenda Items

Cornelian Bay Reserve will have a new picnic shelter on which, according to Burnet who brought the motion from the Development and Environmental Services Committee (DESC), “a wavy roof won out over a gable”. There was, she said, no more to say. Passed unanimously.

Marine Esplanade, Queens Walk, New Town will see an extension to an existing boat storage shed, used by St. Virgils. Again,no more to say. Passed unanimously.

13-15 Ridgeway Road and Bramble Street Road Reservation, Ridgeway, will see the subdivision of one lot into two and a road upgrade. DESC had been split on this one and two councillors (Ruzicka and Burnet) voted against it here. The divide was over the view that the subdivision went against the spirit of the local plan, which is not, as Briscoe pointed out, a statutory document. While some in the area may not like it, he made the point that the local Community organization had not objected. Foley supported his view that it was a good use of the land, from which both the land-owner and Council would benefit financially.

A Draft Amendment to the Battery Point and Sullivans Cove Planning Scheme and Sullivans Cove Planning Scheme was moved in order to transfer the block that contains the former Elliots Bros. site (which is presently on the market), from the former to the latter.

It transpired in debate that this idea had come from Council officers in an attempt to maximise the site’s potential for the city of Hobart. Under the present scheme the site would be destined for residential use. A shift to the Sullivans Cove Scheme would allow for mixed usage. The motion included putting the proposal out for public comment.

Ruzicka was the first to express her amazement at the motion, finding it “a rather unusual thing that a property goes on the market and at the same time is subject to Council consideration of whether there’s a better way to get value from the land”.

She queried whether it was proper for Council to be discussing this and in the last thirty seconds of her allotted five minutes made reference to the possible impact of a non-residential development on the area’s present home-owners.

Zucco supported Ruzicka’s concerns and while clarifying that he was “not being detrimental to the officers”, suggested the motion be deferred and go back to committee.

Briscoe’s view was that the officers had been trying to do the best for Hobart in getting the opinion of an independent consultant. This opinion was that limiting the property to residential growth was not the best outcome.

Spot, or individual property, rezoning is problematic. Hence the recommendation to excise a whole block from one planning scheme and shift it to another.

Debate, and questions to officers, revealed that the agent for the present owner had been approached and was supportive of the site being rezoned.

All but Harvey agreed to a deferral and return of the motion to DESC.

Graffiti Vandalism was dealt with in response to a question from a member of the public at the Council’s AGM, which seems to be a sure-fire way of having an issue addressed.

The motion suggested greater Council involvement in the removal of graffiti from private property. There was support for this, and for an approach to Aurora and Telstra to decorate their substations and other appropriate infrastructure.

There was however, opposition to Zucco’s request that a report be prepared on Council working with Crime Stoppers and newspapers in a ‘Name and Shame’ campaign. This would aim at tracking down suspected offenders through publication of their photos.

Briscoe was concerned about the presumption of innocence, or in this case, guilt. Harvey was more interested in encouraging graffiti artists and converting taggers. He also illuminated the difficulty of achieving any sort of identification of offenders, given their fondness for hoodies.

No-one discussed which photographer was going to climb to the heights now being reached in an apparent competition between Hobart’s graffitists.

Valentine wasn’t sure that naming and shaming was the way to go.

Cocker was sure that it would be “putting people at risk, without convictions.”  He also urged caution in working in tandem with the media in trying to catch offenders, with a reminder that Council already liases with the police.

Foley said that “Really, I could just repeat the words of Alderman Cocker”. Mercifully, he didn’t.

Zucco’s vague and repeated references to another capital city’s newspaper that has already explored the name - shame route were made explicit by Christie who cited the Herald Sun as the model.

This produced guffaws and giggles and squawks of delight. Harvey interjected. Zucco reliably objected on Christie’s behalf, as he bravely continued to advocate the header “Have You Seen These People?” as the answer to graffiti.

“All capital cities are doing it, except Hobart,” claimed Christie.

The motion, with its additions of approaching Aurora and Telstra and reporting on the efficacy of naming and shaming was passed. Cocker, Foley, Harvey and Burnet opposed.

Zero Davey Café – Davey Street – Impact on Intercity Cycleway

This hasn’t proved to be a good idea, and it’s going to take $2,000 to fix it with a curvy line to re-route cyclists and pedestrians out of the way of scalding hot coffee.

Council gave land-lord approval for Zero Davey to have a coffee outlet opening straight onto the foot-path/cycleway as it runs from Evans to Hunter Street.

Sexton now urged that public safety be at the top of the list when giving such approvals.

“We’ve now got a silly situation where people will be lining up for coffee with a cartoon-like squiggly line around them,” he said.

Zucco suggested that a soft barrier, parallel to the hole in the wall coffee outlet, would prevent people queue-ing across the route of foot/bike traffic.

Briscoe mooted the idea of withdrawing the license at some stage, subject to a re-alignment of the café.

“It should never have happened……….but it has happened,” he said.

Thomas suggested the motion go back to committee, which is where it is now headed.

Thomas himself is off to Singapore, to attend the World Cities Summit Mayors forum 2012 - 1-4 July this year.

The estimated cost is $2,200. The Lord Mayor was urged by Ruzicka, as Chair of the Strategic Governance Committee, to see this as an opportunity to showcase Hobart and “grab it by the neck”. 

Thomas appeared to need no such encouragement.