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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cable car now has majority backing

The Mercury: Cable car now has majority backing [19dec05]

SUPPORT for a cable car on Mt Wellington is growing, with a new survey revealing a majority back the controversial development.

Independent MLC Jim Wilkinson surveyed residents in his electorate and found more than 60 per cent of respondents supported a low-impact cable car.

He said yesterday the result was surprising considering Hobart's vehement rejection of a cable car when it was last mooted in 1995.

But it appeared people now realised there was scope for environmentally sensitive cable cars and were aware of the tourism potential for Hobart.

"I believe if we could have a low-impact, aesthetically acceptable cable car it would be good thing for Hobart," Mr Wilkinson said. "It would add to our package of tourist attractions."

Mr Wilkinson sent his survey to about 9000 residents of the Legislative Council division of Nelson, which includes Bonnet Hill, Dynnyrne, Fern Tree, Kingston, Kingston Beach, Leslie Vale, Lower Sandy Bay, Mt Nelson, Neika, Ridgeway, Sandy Bay and Taroona.

Almost 1000 people returned the survey and 63.4 per cent supported the proposal of a "low-impact, lightweight tourist cable car" for Mt Wellington.

Mr Wilkinson said investment in a cable car would also mean a suitable development at the top of the mountain, such as a restaurant or cafe, would need to be considered.

"There is no reason why a clever, innovative architect couldn't design an appropriate complex to be built at the pinnacle of the mountain," he said.

But Greens leader Peg Putt said there was no scope for development on the pinnacle because of the sensitive alpine environment. Ms Putt said the Wellington Park Management Plan clearly stipulated there could not be development at the top of Mt Wellington.

"He [Mr Wilkinson] wants to overthrow 10 years of community consultation and planning that has gone into the management plan," she said.

Ms Putt also said there was no place for a cable car on the mountain.

"There is no such thing as a low-impact cable car," she said.

Ms Putt said any cable car would require unsightly clearing of vegetation to reduce the bushfire potential.

Liberal deputy leader Will Hodgman threw his support behind a cable car for Mt Wellington in October and said yesterday it was clear enthusiasm was growing.

The Wellington Park Management Plan 2005 prohibits shops, restaurants and retail outlets in the pinnacle zone.



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