Pictured above: Kingborough Ratepayers Association Secretary Tricia Ramsey, Woodbridge Community Association Public Officer Luca Vanzino, Blackmans Bay Community Association Inc. President Rosalie Maynard, principal petitioner Matt Jones, PMAT President Anne Harrison, Howden Progress Association President Leslie Frost, Huntingfield Residents and Beyond community group organiser Tammie Fletcher and Co-Principal of Tarremah Steiner School John Correy gathered to discuss the Legislative Council E-Petition which asks the State Government to review key aspects of the Channel Highway/Huntingfield development.
Community groups and residents of the Kingborough region are petitioning the government to review key aspects of the Huntingfield Master Plan and extend the current consultation period, which is due to close this Friday, June 26.
Members of the groups: Residents of Huntingfield and Beyond, Howden Progress Association, Kingborough Ratepayers Association, Woodbridge Community Association, Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania, Tarremah Steiner School and Blackmans Bay Community Association Inc. all gathered on Friday, June 19 to share their concerns and raise awareness of the E-Petition.
The petition will be lodged through the Legislative Council, backed by Independent Member for Nelson Meg Webb MLC, and calls for a rethink of the density of the development, an extension of consultation timeframes and investments in the already stretched local infrastructure.
The E-petition will close on Wednesday, June 24 and be presented to Parliament on Thursday, June 25.
Principal petitioner and spokesperson for Residents of Huntingfield and Beyond, Matt Jones said that infrastructure like roads, public transport, schools and medical services are already severely stressed and cannot accommodate such significant population growth without government action.
Mr Jones noted that the impacts of inadequate infrastructure are already being felt well beyond Kingston.
“The scale of this subdivision has doubled to about 470 lots and it will be one of the most dense developments in the state, all in a region already seriously stressed with traffic and other well-known and documented infrastructure inadequacies,” said Mr Jones.
“Residents want the Huntingfield development density to align with existing housing in the area, with minimal multi-units permitted.”
Rosalie Maynard, President Blackmans Bay Community Association Inc. shares the concerns about the lack of adequate infrastructure.
“Without a significant government commitment to investment in services and an overarching traffic management strategy, the impact of such a large subdivision will exacerbate existing congestion on the Channel Highway,” Ms Maynard said.
“This is a problem already, let alone with the addition of hundreds of extra cars daily.”
Ms Maynard also said the group is concerned that the public consultation is happening online during the limitations of COVID-19, without the opportunities for face-to-face, two-way community forums, and without public access to associated specialist reports (traffic and network impacts, ecological values, public transport etc).
President of the Howden Progress Association, Leslie Frost said not being able to see any associated reports is concerning for local residents.
“Our association requests details of any consultation undertaken with Parks and Wildlife as to how they intend to maintain the integrity of the adjacent Peter Murrell Reserve,” Ms Frost remarked.
“The Howden community is very concerned about the negative impacts such intense overdevelopment of this land will have on access and congestion on the Channel Highway and the Peter Murrell Reserve.
“There seems to be little concern about transport, infrastructure and amenity issues for the people who will live at Huntingfield and for everyone who lives south of there.
“The Huntingfield subdivision should be rethought before any sod is turned,” Ms Frost stated.
The Kingborough Ratepayers Association is concerned that ratepayers in Kingborough may be left to fund future infrastructure requirements that should rightly be the responsibility of the State Government.
“In the short and long-term economic interests of all residents of the municipality, we urge the state government to provide immediate assurances all necessary soft and hard infrastructure will be developed concurrently with construction of the residential component of the project” said John McDonald, President of the Kingborough Ratepayers Association.
Speaking on behalf of Tarremah Steiner School, Co-Principal John Correy said there are concern across a number of areas, including the impact the scale of the development will have on students being able to study in a safe and healthy environment.
“Adding 470 house lots to an already overstretched road system will have disastrous consequences, both in traffic congestion and safety of the students at the school,” Mr Correy explained.
“A big part of the curriculum is on landcraft and farming; the proposed subdivision will consume prime agricultural land.
“The school applauds a move for low cost affordable housing; however the development offers little in this category.
“The school implores the government to sit down and have a constructive consultative meeting with all the relevant stakeholders, the local rate-payer associations, resident groups, the local schools, businesses and the Kingborough Council to forge a realistic plan for the area, a blue-print of good consultative approaches not the online, fractured process which is occurring at the moment,” Mr Correy said.
State President of the Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania (PMAT) and Blackmans Bay resident, Anne Harrison expressed concern that despite being one of the largest and most dense subdivisions in Tasmania, with a significant level of community interest, the original rezoning that now allows this development was never advertised for public comment.
“Any proposed development by government must be publicly advertised with public consultation at both the rezone stage and the master plan stage, otherwise the community is sidelined and so is the local council,” said Ms Harrison,
“With Huntingfield, there was no consultation on the rezone decision and now a compromised consultation during an unprecedented State of Emergency and community lockdown.
“The Huntingfield proposal goes against good strategic planning and is not consistent with PMAT’s key planning principles.”
Ms Webb said her decision to sponsor the petition is part of advocating for the community to have a voice as the government attempts to deliver more housing through this development.
“As an independent representative for the community, I am absolutely committed to making sure people have a say on local issues and that’s why I’ve sponsored the petition in relation to the Huntingfield development,” Ms Webb said.
“From my 20 years working in the community services sector, I’m a strong advocate for more public and social housing.
“I believe we need to work with the community every step of the way to deliver more affordable housing.
“We shouldn’t use shortcuts and exclude the community from planning processes.”
The Huntingfield Draft Master Plan was released for public comment on May 13, during the COVID-19 shutdown period and will close to public comment on June 26.
The E-Petition can be accessed through the Legislative Council E-Petitions webpage at www.parliament.tas.gov.au/EPetitions/Council/CurrentEPetitions.aspx?LIndex=2
Direct links to the petition can be found through the PMAT and Huntingfield Residents and Beyond facebook pages.