Cygnet outgrowing its infrastructure
The population of Cygnet is growing much faster than either Huon Valley Council or most of us in the community anticipated. This has provided opportunities and relative prosperity for some but there have also been negative impacts. Houses and rentals are now far more expensive, which means there are people who were born and grew up in Cygnet who can’t afford to live here any longer and are having to move away from family and friends. This is not good for the sense of community Cygnet has always valued so highly.
A recent report from SGS Economics & Planning shows that, in the past nine years, 110 new housing lots have been created within the township. They estimate there will be demand for another 730 dwellings by 2036. Around 100 of these are already in the pipeline. The report does not include the many new dwellings built in the surrounding area, or ‘greater Cygnet’.
These, of course, contribute to traffic and other infrastructure issues. The SGS report concludes, “In the current market, land values may become prohibitive for households to move into Cygnet.”
The president of the Cygnet Association (tCA), Howard Wilcockson, says the association feels that “The council has fallen behind in providing the infrastructure needed to keep up with population growth. More houses,
more people, more traffic. Twenty years
ago, traffic was hardly a consideration, but now Mary Street is often congested and even finding a parking spot or simply crossing the street can be a challenge.”
In 2004, the council engaged the town planners Inspiring Place to develop a Cygnet Township Development Plan. Even back then the planners could see that Mary Street would become congested as it is not only the main street but is the only road through Cygnet. The planners proposed that a new street should be built on the flat land behind
the shops.
The 2004 plan was revised in 2009 and the proposed new street was extended towards today’s post office. This was endorsed by the council but it’s now well over
a decade since then and nothing has been done. In the meantime, the council continually approves new residential developments, and traffic congestion and parking gets worse, though the new car park behind the town hall certainly helps.
Mr Wilcockson went on to say that, “We recognise that this is a major project and no one expected it to happen overnight. But the council has now had plenty of time to purchase the required land and put the funding aside to proceed. So far no plans have been prepared and the council has given us no indication of a time frame.
The Cygnet Association has lobbied the council for this for years but we have received no meaningful commitment. We call on the council to act now and, at the very least, acquire the land and finalise the plans so that if the state or federal governments are looking for ‘shovel-ready’ projects to stimulate the economy this can be presented as ready to go. One of the council’s roles is to ensure that infrastructure matches development.
We understand why people want to settle here. It’s a great place to live and the Cygnet Association wants it to stay that way. But if the population grows much faster than the infrastructure and services can cope with, it will not remain so.”
If you are interested in reading the SGS report or knowing more about the Cygnet Association visit www.cygnet.org.au.
Pat Synge/The Cygnet Association

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