Final plans for 2.7 km Mt Wellington aerial tram

Bogong

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The final design for the Mt Wellington Cableway in Hobart was revealed today. It replaces the previous plans hybrid system of an aerial tram and a gondola and with a 2.7 km aerial tramway with a vertical gain of 920 metres and featuring a span of 2040 metres between support towers. Passengers will be transported in two 80 person, 7 x 4 metre cabins which will travel at a speedy 10 metres a second. The top station will be recessed into the mountain with a more discreet profile than the current shelter. Details of the plan on the MWCC website.

Personally I see this as a win-win for everyone. It will more than halve traffic using the road, present a lower profile than the current visitor shelter, provide 80 permanent jobs and a major boost for tourism in all of southern Tassie. I can't see a rational reason why people would be opposed to it.
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PK Sawd

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I've always been ambivalent about the plans to be honest. It matters little to me given the sort of access I prefer. But I do recognise the summit area as it now stands is a total dog's breakfast and I'd love to see a plan for it being the prime focus of efforts. That may or may not include cable car access. It should also include the Springs area which is a wonderful staging point for a series of really great, sheltered trails, many of which are accessible for a wide range of people and abilities.

I think what I want most for any process is proper due diligence, transparent consultation and decision making and not letting a bunch of cowboys rock in, fail and then leave the state with a liability.
 
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sbm_

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I can't see a rational reason why people would be opposed to it.
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I think the three strongest arguments against are
  1. Weather, it obviously gets pretty wild up there, what percentage of days will it be able to operate?
  2. Is it going to be impossibly expensive to ride, enough that people are just going to skip it and drive up anyway, especially locals? Will they end up closing the road to force people to buy an $80 lift ticket?
  3. There's a difference between opposing a lift in general, and opposing a particular group's slightly shady proposal for a lift. See PK's comment
I think what I want most for any process is proper due diligence, transparent consultation and decision making and not letting a bunch of cowboys rock in, fail and then leave the state with a liability.

My rock climbing friends on facebook are up in arms and whinging, I cynically suspect they really just don't want a peanut gallery watching them from up above all the time. Which to be fair, is a vibe-killer.
 

PK Sawd

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Personally I think the weather argument is a furphy. There would be very few days where operation would be impossible I am reckoning. I run up there regularly and that aspect of the mountain offers a great deal of shelter from the prevailing winds. These setups operate in high alpine environments around the world. Mt Wellington can't pose any greater challenge surely.

Lots of people will choose to go the low cost option up the road and to date it has been explicit that the operation of the cable car will not be contingent on restricting road access. It might provide some angles for management of "risk" though which could potentially see them being more trigger happy on the road access gates. But that is just a thought which has occurred to me on the fly and I haven't really worked it through.

I've got to say though that the road is really awful. Or rather, there are sufficient numbers of drivers who handle it poorly to make it an awful experience having to negotiate it.
 

Scooter

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So seeing as I was there recently I have been checking the web cams with relative frequency (currently a bit of snow up there right now :D https://www.hobartcity.com.au/Community/kunanyi-Mount-Wellington/kunanyi-Mount-Wellington-webcams ) and as the road status is linked on the web cam page I have also been checking the road status and what has surprised me is just how much the road has actually been closed this winter (due to snow events).

Been shut for what seems ages at a time so if that was the norm (not sure?) then I am all for some sort of cable car access up to the top so people can get up there and have a "play".

Of course echoing your comments @sbm_ I would hate to see it be cost prohibitive (because If I could I would love to use it often and would want others too as well) and would love to see it affordably priced but the cynic in me says it will likely be priced to gouge people :mad:

Reminds me a bit of the Banff Sulfer Mountain Gondola - I spent a couple of months in Banff years ago and rode it down a heap of times (was free down so I would hike up) but never paid to ride it up and just looking at its current pricing ($58 or $64 or $49 if you are a resident) I still wouldn't :eek: Seriously if you were a family of 4 that's $200 and I guess that's the issue if you get private operators involved - they want to recoup costs and them some!!

So I'm all for it - but as long as it was affordable :thumbs:

Did the city of Hobart or the state government ever enter into talks?
 

PK Sawd

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As the current Mayor pointed out this morning, the council has never actually received a Development Application in over 100 years of talking about it. I don't know to what extent they need to or should consult with the State Government BEFORE a DA is actually lodged? I guess there is a lot of brinkmanship going on around the proposal at the moment.

Ha ha! Your post Scooter reminded me of all the times I have stumped up and down the Buller road from Horse Hill because I wasn't going to pay the shuttle service to take me such a short distance. It was often rather unpleasant but I could spend the money I saved on beer so it wasn't all bad.
 
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PK Sawd

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It would be mad not to I would have thought. It's such a growing segment of the tourism and leisure market. Derby, Eagles Eyrie etc are going gangbusters and helping to offset problems of regional employment at the same time.
 
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sbm_

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I reckon the one-off ticket price has to be less than $30, and a local annual pass less than $200. Preferably closer to $100.
 

Bogong

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I don't have any involvement with it, but I am a fan of aerial ropeways, so I've read the plan and I can reply to a few points people have made.

Due process. It's been six years since the first version of the plan was floated and consultation began. It's been bounced back and forth between the state government, two local councils, every political party and more groups than you can point a stick at. As a result, the plans have been modified several times over six years until this final plan was revealed and it is the one that will be formally submitted for planning permission. The planning process for the much smaller Arthurs Seat gondola in Victoria took just as long, the people behind these projects know they have to address peoples concerns and modify the project accordingly if they want the thing built.

Bikes. Bikes will be accommodated in the cabins and they will build new dedicated mountain bike tracks to separate bikes from pedestrians, as the current shared tracks are hazardous for both groups.

Price. It will be fairly pricey. Comparing it with similar projects, the shorter Arthurs Seat gondola costs $24 return while the much longer Cairns - Kuranda gondola costs $79 return. I suspect the Hobart aerial tram will be between the two, my guess is around $40.

Wind hold. As each car will be supported by two ropes a couple of metres apart, they won't sway like chairlifts and gondolas do. It's expected that the tram will run 99.5% of days, which translates to closure due to high winds on two days each year. They do point out that the cable car will provide access to the summit on heavy snow days when the road is closed.
 
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Scooter

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Ha ha! Your post Scooter reminded me of all the times I have stumped up and down the Buller road from Horse Hill because I wasn't going to pay the shuttle service to take me such a short distance. It was often rather unpleasant but I could spend the money I saved on beer so it wasn't all bad.

Yeah I'm the same with Falls - have been there heaps (mostly staying at the top of the Village) and never even considered paying for over-snow :D
 

PK Sawd

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Yep, council voted down the application for a carve out of public land to make a road to a base station on the Main Fire Trail just past the end of old farm road. Just for context, that road would run through the tip at Mc Robies Gully (amusingly this is an anagram of microbes.....) but from there apparently through a habitat that is relatively rare. For some reason I can't quite figure it doesn't exactly follow the line of existing trails that go the same way. That means extra clearing of vegetation. When I first heard of the plan I thought they'd use the existing and then the footprint/impact would have been fairly minimal.

State Government is pretty keen for it to happen but they recently got cold feet once the proponents started putting in survey pegs on the summit. I don't quite know what they are willing to do but I sense a degree of nervousness. If push ever comes to shove it will be a real hotbed issue.

Glenorchy city council have been telling the proponents for ages they are welcome to use land to create a route from the North. It would be much longer and more expensive to build however.
 

Bogong

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My understanding was that last year the state government knew the Hobart Council would always vote against anything to do with the cable car and had it declared a "Project of state significance" (or a similar term), which allowed them to over ride council resolutions affecting the project. ???
 

PK Sawd

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I can't recall to be honest. But when the survey pegs and tape started to appear on the Summit, Peter Gutwein declared the original approval for surveying was no longer relevant due to changes between what was submitted and approved and what was later modified. The impression I got at the time was that there was more than just procedural considerations governing Gutwein's response. The language was pretty abrupt. They were told to desist immediately.

Actually, it could have been decidedly procedural and may have been a reminder to the proponents that while they might have the ear of government it needs to be done scrupulously above board as there is a lot of contention around the project.
 
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PK Sawd

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Rabid K9

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Just for context, that road would run through the tip at Mc Robies Gully (amusingly this is an anagram of microbes.....) but from there apparently through a habitat that is relatively rare.

That is pure gold, especially delivered deadpan.
 

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PK Sawd

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Highland Council just voted down the planning application for the "Standing camp". The Mayor made a very blunt comment that it should not have been down to the Central Highlands Council to do due diligence that the State and Federal level governments neglected (ignored more likely). Interestingly they went way beyond the basic planning regulations in their decision and noted that the helicopter intrusion in particular was not appropriate in the World Heritage area. They also expressed concern about environmental waste and water runoff management of the camp and the appalling lack of consultation with aboriginal custodians. The term "standing camp" was a crock too. But that's just me adding that last bit. I assume the developer has the right to re-lodge a revised application. Interesting to see where it goes from here. State government is really keen.
 
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mr

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Feds chucking big money at tassie atm. They always have (because its a negative economy) but now they seem to be going bigger. The tourism dollar from their ROI is going to push some poor decision making imo
 

dayzoff

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Having just driven up to the summit a couple of weeks ago for the first time ever I found it to be a pretty hairy experience. For the record, I have skied for 35 years and driven every mountain road in Aus & NZ, so I like to think I have some knowledge in regard to driving on windy mountain roads which are often covered in snow etc.

The amount of foreign tourists driving up and down this road in rental cars and vans with absolutely no idea what they are doing was astounding. Never seen anything like it. They drive straight up the middle of the road and will not move!! This was on a fine sunny March day, so I can only imagine how scary it would be in poor weather. Then the road is being used by hikers and cyclists as well.

The cable car if done properly has to be a winner. Restrict road access to locals who obviously use it for many different recreational purposes. Surely there are council rangers who could police this. They locked up the northern beaches for locals only years ago and gave them all parking permits for the beach car parks and everyone else pays a small fortune to park there. Do a similar thing in Hobart but only allow locals to park on the road or at the top. A small yearly fee for a parking permit and anyone else who dares drive up there without the permit cops a massive fine. Put big nasty signs at the bottom warning of the fines or even have a tow away policy. Make sure the tourists are aware of this then heavily promote the use of the cable car. Even if was 80 bucks for a return ride tourists will happily pay it. It's a unique experience and it's not like they're coming back to do it again.

Thredbo is 39 bucks for a one off return ride so with the comforts of being protected from the elements in a cable car, with the benefit of food options at the top, toilets, the view and access to many walking tracks, then maybe somewhere close to 80 bucks isn't far off the mark? Most cars would chew through 10 to 15 bucks of fuel in the return drive anyhow.

I saw all the locals signs driving up opposing the cable car. If you live near or on that road why would you want to deal constantly with all that traffic and pollution when you chose to live there in the first place because of the connection to the environment!
 

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Though Team Bears had a better plan!
$80 return....you cannot be serious with this proposal !
The Bears Zip Line was much more cost effective.
You need to draw on professionals in the engineering world to solve these environmental problems....
 
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PK Sawd

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Will be interesting. The Mayor is an independent and ex-Green and there is a definite split between pro and anti. I believe the anti side will have the numbers. The State Government will then find some controversial way to intervene and make it happen anyway. A further shit-fight will ensue.
 
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Bogong

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Will be interesting. The Mayor is an independent and ex-Green and there is a definite split between pro and anti. I believe the anti side will have the numbers. The State Government will then find some controversial way to intervene and make it happen anyway. A further shit-fight will ensue.
It was much the same with the Cairns - Kuranda gondola proposal 25 years ago. The pro lobby cited jobs and economic prosperity, the anti lobby cited destruction of a nice strip of bushland. There was a massive fight between them with both sides getting very emotional.

In the end the Skyway Rainforest Cableway was built and has won more eco tourism awards than you can point a stick at. It is a great success, provides lots of direct and indirect jobs and the current generation of greenies absolutely adore it.
 

PK Sawd

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Yeah, it would be nice if it could be put to bed one way or the other. I'm pretty ambivalent about it on a few levels. I have no illusions about the dog's breakfast that describes the current access arrangements and amenities. Removing or reducing public vehicles on that road would have many benefits. But I still want to see the whole of mountain plan and design which I think is lacking. Also, having realised slowly over my years in this state how systemic has been the denial and disenfranchisement of past atrocities and of current aboriginal culture I'm now much more sensitive to the aboriginal cultural claim to the mountain. As usual it is only really given a token acknowledgement in the same breath that "but you can't stand in the way of 'progress'" is uttered. Tassie doesn't really do considered and inclusive consultation well. Mostly various lobby groups are working actively to prevent that happening. 'Tis frustrating. More broadly, we are starting to see some real growing pains with our expanding tourism sector. Slapdash operations like "She'll be right Cock Ferries" down at Bruny Island aren't helping.
 
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zar

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I am mildly opposed to the Hobart cable car. Live here and grew up here and the mountain has always been the scenic "natural" backdrop to the city. The claim that it will be next to invisible when looking up is pretty ridiculous. Would probably reluctantly support it if the pinnacle road was closed or tolled; this would at least boost its necessity and environmental credentials - at the moment its hard to take those arguments too seriously. What hasn't been mentioned here is the proponent needs to build a 2.5km road through the bush up the slope of the mountain to build a base station. The decision before Council may have to wait until after the 2022 Council elections as the project doesn't have the support of a majority of Councillors ( although its always possible someone could change the position they took to the people at the Council elections last year, if they were brave enough to cop the wrath ). State government would be unable to pass Special Legislation either IMO as its governing with an unstable majority.
 

PK Sawd

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https://www.themercury.com.au/busin...rcury&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial

Interesting that the Feds have intervened here. Maybe they had to respond to the query that was sent their way. Given recent Environmental signoff from the (former) Minister's office I'd be tipping the MWCC will likely get the nod to continue if they do a halfway decent job on the assessment. I'm not certain they will be diligent enough but it may not matter. State and Fed libs would be in favour of the proposal I am guessing.

Looking down the list of creatures potentially "theatened" by this proposal I really can't see it to be honest but I guess that's why you have independent mobs to the EIAs. Their expertise should overrule my anecdotes every time.
 
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GS

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I noticed plenty of 'No Cableway" signs on the road up to Mt Wellington a couple of weekends ago.

I'm in two minds; it could be a great way of potentially getting cars off the road, but would the visual impact be justified. Dunno
 

skifree

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I noticed plenty of 'No Cableway" signs on the road up to Mt Wellington a couple of weekends ago.

I'm in two minds; it could be a great way of potentially getting cars off the road, but would the visual impact be justified. Dunno
There is a lot of very similar things around the world such as Queenstown NZ. Can’t say I thought it was a negative in my two very brief stays there.

But I can also really appreciate an unsullied view of Welly having visited Hobart annually for many years and often stayed with locals whose kitchen or whatever window has a grandstand view of Welly.
 
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JA2340

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I noticed plenty of 'No Cableway" signs on the road up to Mt Wellington a couple of weekends ago.

I'm in two minds; it could be a great way of potentially getting cars off the road, but would the visual impact be justified. Dunno
So ... they'd rather the traffic?

My opinion at this point in time, is to suggest that the alternative might have to be a bastly improved roadway to the top.
Are the residents OK with the disruption and hassle that would bring?
 

GS

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Presumably the cables would be very difficult to see against the dark vegetation and no reason the cablecar couldn't be somewhat camouflaged.

Unless of course it went over your roof, or close by.

Edit...a lifetime of free rides would probably sway me in that case!
 

skifree

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The features of the face of Welly are very distinct and beautiful in their own right. The more I think on it the more I’d not like to see it sullied by man.

The towers are bad enough. You can see the tallest tower from the WAs, Picton, Frankland/Wilmots. Is that a good thing?
 

PK Sawd

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I think I have expressed before that my views on this were blinkered in that I had no real appreciation for the aboriginal heritage claims on the mountain. Leaving those aside for a moment I have always been ambivalent about the proposal because the environment is already visually degraded and the road and top of mountain amenities are rubbish and not fit for purpose. Reducing traffic in some manner is not such a bad idea but I am not particularly fond of the footprint and visual impact of the cable car either. There are pros and cons.

The aboriginal heritage is difficult for me to comment on in any meaningful way. Politically I would note that the Jordan river site is loaded with tens of thousands of years of artefacts signifying an unbroken record of aboriginal life in the area and yet there was never any real sense or hope that protests over the Brighton bypass works were ever going to stand in the way. But not finding artefacts or obvious "sites" on the mountain is possibly immaterial anyway. Notable features of terrain are regularly embedded in the mythologies of earlier peoples all over the world. The difficulty in Tassie is that this must be taken on faith. The links to the past are variously fractured, the population of my generation has been "educated" in a manner that really undermines the veracity of claims. It is very different today in certain parts of Tassie. Recognition is a fundamental, front and centre theme of the current Uni administration for instance. But I don't think that plays particularly strongly or well in the regions. Probably doesn't cut much mustard in the Northern suburbs of Hobart either.

So on pure physical considerations I'm neither for nor against the cable car. There are other options but few of them pay more than lip service to the natural values I most appreciate. On cultural concerns see above.
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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Let the Chinese bid for development of project....perhaps broaden the scope of the project?They do wall and stairs very well!More impressive than a few cable cars!
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