Visitor centre closures a blow to tourism
It is very easy to understand why local tourism operators are annoyed and distressed at the way Huon Valley Council suddenly closed the  two visitor centres in Huonville and Geeveston.
Why was there no consultation with the industry over the 12 months that the huge losses were under consideration?
How come there was no attempt  to consider other business models or achieve more cost-effective financial operations?
With borders closed and flights grounded, it may have been reasonable to close the centres temporarily during the pandemic.
However, to close them permanently, with no future alternatives, reveals a lack of appreciation  and concern for the future viability  of both tourism operators and the Huon Valley economy.
And why did the council pull the plug just at the time that Covid-19 restrictions  are starting to be lifted, and Tourism Tasmania is about to launch a new campaign to encourage visitors within
the state?
The centres had high staff costs, and limited opportunity to earn revenue because past councils slashed the tourism budget, and they have consistently failed to promote local attractions. 
No consumer awareness equals lack of demand, because visitors go to places they have heard about, and spend their
money there.
This whole situation is an example  of poor planning and governance, and will only be rectified when the council consults with tourism experts, instead of blindly following advice from council staff.
Alan Robson
Glaziers Bay

development concerns
The Huntingfield Draft Master Plan for the 68-hectare site at 1287 Channel Highway, Kingston was released for public comment on 13 May.
The state government has decided not to hold face-to-face public information meetings due to Covid-19. It is very disappointing that public comment is being sought during a state of emergency when the community cannot meet to discuss the future of their municipality.
There is concern that the Huntingfield proposal will not only effect residents and businesses in Huntingfield but the whole Kingborough/Huon region.
How to view plans
View an interactive Social Pinpoint map and plans at huntingfield.mysocialpinpoint.com/huntingfield-master-plan. View the Department of Communities Tasmania Huntingfield land release information at www.communities.tas.gov.au (search ‘Huntingfield Land Release’). A printable version of the draft master plan is available at www.communities.tas.gov.au (search ‘Huntingfield draft master plan’).
Please have your say
You can submit your comments by email, post or through the Social Pinpoint website.
Comments due are by 5pm on Friday 26 June 2020. They can be submitted to HousingProjects@communities.tas.gov.au or mailed to Huntingfield Land Release, Housing Tasmania, GPO Box 65 Hobart 7001.
Key problems
This development has been highly controversial from the very start in June 2019 when the state government pushed through the fast-track rezoning of the land in September 2019.
As the state government wrote the planning rules before the masterplan was developed with Kingborough Council and the community. There will be very limited to no opportunity to deal with the biggest issue of the Huntingfield proposal – namely housing density. This area does not have the existing infrastructure to deal with a proposal of this magnitude.
The Huntingfield land rezoning allowed for one of the largest and most dense subdivisions ever proposed in Tasmania, but was not advertised for public comment.
The local community understood that the 68-hectare Huntingfield site would have about 230 lots. This development is now proposed to be around 470 lots, potentially with more dwellings if multi-units are built.
This high-density proposal will have implications for existing stretched infrastructure, e.g. traffic, schools and medical services.
The proposed roundabout on Channel Highway approximately 200m South of Maddocks Road which would be used as an access point into the proposed development would have a huge impact on traffic flow for the
Kingborough region.
Sophie Underwood
State coordinator
Planning Matters Alliance
Tasmania Inc

Development could do better on bikes
Bicycle Network Tasmania has commented on the draft master plan for the proposed 470-lot residential development at Huntingfield as follows.
It’s great to see a shared path has been included within the development area to get people around safely on bikes and on foot, but there is no mention of how the development connects to the broader Kingborough area for people wanting to ride or walk for transport and recreation.
The Tasmanian government has the opportunity with this development to build cycling infrastructure which is physically separated from traffic and gives people of all ages the ability to ride to provide a healthier place to live, and one that doesn’t contribute unduly to traffic congestion on local roads.
The Huntingfield site is perfectly located to create protected cycle paths to major attractors in
the area.
The Kingston shopping centre and Blackmans Bay local shops are about 3 to 4km from the proposed development. Both have primary schools in the town centres and Kingston has the high school on the edge of its centre.
Huntingfield also has a few private schools. There will also undoubtedly be demand for the government schools in Kingston and Blackmans Bay.
This 3 to 4km distance is perfect for cycling: it transforms a 45-minute walk into a 10 to 15-minute bike ride with easy gradients.
Giving school students a safe path to school helps ease traffic congestion in two ways: it stops parents having to drive to schools for drop-off and pick-up, and frees up parents to take public transport or ride to work as they don’t have to do the school run.
Safe bicycle paths and secure, user-friendly bike parking at a central
hub open up the catchment of passengers for public transport.
If Turn up and Go bus services were run from Kingston’s centre more people may be encouraged to ride in to catch the bus.
The Huntingfield development is also likely to house retirees who will appreciate the ability to ride to local shops and sevices for exercise and to save on petrol.
Where should protected cycleways be built? The obvious links for Huntingfield to Kingston and Blackmans Bay are along Coffee Creek/Channel Highway and Algona Road respectively.
The Coffee Creek fire trail through the Peter Murrell Reserve and up through the Huntingfield industrial estate was nominated as the best site for investigation of a shared path in the Tasmanian government’s recent Margate to Kingston corridor study. At the Fork in the Road roundabout the path could also link across to the Channel Highway.
The Channel Highway’s road reservation between Huntingfield and Kingston is very wide for
a two-lane local road and there is ample space for either a bi-directional separate cycleway or even separate cycleways on both sides of the road.
Algona Road’s reservation is also wide, with room to build a shared path alongside the road for cycling and walking, although there could be a need for engineered pathways along the drop-offs from the road and cutting through embankments.
Neither connection is mentioned in the Huntingfield master plan even though both would provide residents of all ages and abilities with the means to get to shops, services, schools and the main Kingston bus hub and high school.
The internal 3m path is the minimum recommended width for shared paths. If it’s to be used by 470 households to get around the neighbourhood for riding, walking, running, dog walking and children’s play, a 4m width would be more comfortable, especially for the spine running through the centre of the site, which would be the main access route for
people riding.
The Tasmanian government should fund the design and construction of a sealed shared path along the Coffee Creek track and separated cycleway along Channel Highway so Huntingfield residents of all ages and abilities can use bicycles to get to shops, services, schools and public transport.
There should be a commitment to funding the design and construction of an Algona Road path.
Bicycle Network Tasmania

Union opens
Tasmanian branch
As unemployment and underemployment reaches record high levels across Australia, it is crucial all Australians come together to help each other cope with the financial, emotional and practical effects. People are suffering, not only because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, but because of the actions of present and former governments. Income support at well below the poverty line, punitive mutual obligations, excessively long application processing periods, robodebt, understaffed phonelines: the list of problems is endless.
To mobilise Tasmanians to stand up and fighting for our rights, the
Australian Unemployed Workers Union is starting a new branch in Tasmania. See our Facebook page (Australian Unemployed Workers Union Tasmania) for details of how to join. Membership is free and open to all.
Liz Charpleix

Letters to the editor are the opinions of the writers, whose name and address appear with each letter, and do not necessarily express the opinions of this publication. Letters are published in part or full at the sole discretion of the editor and no correspondence will be entered into. Please keep letters short and to the point.

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