THE ticking PLONKER

Adrian Bold and his team have done an outstanding job in ensuring that, I think, we’ve answered almost every question that can be asked of us, and we think because of the work that we’ve put in at the front, it should enable this to progress through council and that process fairly easily.
— Chris Oldfield, chair MWCC

On June 12, 2019 the MWCC lodged with Hobart City Council its long, long-awaited Development Application for a cable car.

At the hooray launch on top of the mountain the Chair of MWCC claimed that the Application—all 800 pages of it—“answers just about every question that could be asked”. Written by “world experts”, it was an “outstanding” achievement and this was an historic day. The application, Oldfield predicted, “should progress through the Council process fairly easily.” The whole thing might be stitched up 40 days later.

Oldfield’s 40 days and 40 nights prophecy would take ‘DA Decision Day’ before Hobart City Council around July 29th (2019).

1 day later …

The very next day, June 13th, the HCC advised the cable car company in writing that their 800-page development blockbuster did not contain sufficient information to be assessed.

The MWCC volunteered it had received this letter but portrayed it as mere fact-finding or clarification. A couple of questions. Four questions. No biggie. Oldfield had envisaged this, having said “Sure, Council could stop the clock if they need more information, but because of the work that Adrian and his team have done we don't think there will be a big requirement for that.” He even used the word “requirement”.

The clock stopped at Day 1.

Thanks to ROCC, we now know the Council letter required further information under seven (not four) heads—and the very first (“P1”) cast doubt on the whole Pinnacle Centre set-up. The erection on top of the mountain of conference centres, restaurants and bars was, arguably, prohibited. If they were not permitted could the cable car operate profitably? (This question was posited by Council a week later.) Oldfield omitted opining upon P1.

7 days later…

Within a week the HCC wrote a superseding letter requiring answers to a wider range of unexplained matters. Noise, Stormwater, Bushfire and Environment.

Old reports in the DA needed to be amended, lodged information needed to be clarified, new reports were required. Original maps and plans needed to be adjusted and clarified and new maps drawn. Some architectural drawings were unsatisfactory because they did not relate to the proposal.

The MWCC sat silent on this second round of requirements. It was yet to respond to the first letter. So the Clock stood still.

28 days later…

By July 3rd, the Council had written four times, adding Visual Impact, Biodiversity, Potential Contaminated Sites and Geo-conservation questions to the matrix. Taswater required confirmation, too. The number of ‘requirements’ enumerated was about 36, but if you parse each requirement, they are frequently triple-pronged. The specific requirements totalled more than 100. The MWCC did not respond to any of the requirements. Oldfield did say that the important thing was to answer the questions properly, not quickly.

Though the clock stayed stopped, time kept ticking.

40 days later…

July 29 came and went. No response from MWCC received. The DA was not in a state satisfactory to be displayed publicly, let alone considered by Council. The MWCC stonewalled all media enquiries, refusing to acknowledge that the clock had stopped on Day 1 and the MWCC had not re-started it.

ROCC requested from Council a list of all the information required. The Council sent ROCC the un-redacted letters and advised that as at July 24th the MWCC had not submitted the required further information on a single requirement.

80 days later…

When quizzed by the ABC on the requirements no comment came from the company.

101 days later…

Make-believe can only get you so far. June 12 was an historic day. The lodgement of the DA was historic because it forever divorced the ideal concept for a cable car that the MWCC has talked up for a decade from this actual, defective and incompetent plonker 101 requirements short of submission.

CLICK IMAGE BELOW FOR ANNOTATED VERSION OF THE 101 REQUIREMENTS