Two major subdivisions have now been submitted for 111 / 125 Waterworks Rd and at 25A Waterworks Rd, comprising altogether over 30 new house blocks on the southern side of the valley. Both have now been advertised.
If problems arise later there is no comeback if concerned people have not submitted their concerns about any aspect of the development. For your convenience here are some documents that have been prepared by the developers for the first development.
Click here to see Hobart Council planning division site, including submission forms.
Below is personal viewpoint prepared by Ruth & Sebastian:
Subdivisions in the Waterworks Valley
Building activities have had a major impact on the Waterworks valley over the last few years and we are keen to see that this impact is minimised.
As residents we are affected by these activities more than anyone else so it’s important we make sure developers have well-considered practices that minimise the impact on our environment and community. We have put together our own list of some of the important issues regarding housing developments in the valley in response to queries by various people concerned with new developments in the area. This is a personal view rather than a comprehensive list and different people will certainly have different issues that are important to them.
Some developers in this area have shown a willingness to cut corners by clearing native vegetation or weed species prior to any planning documents being submitted or approved. This has occurred twice in the last year in the Waterworks valley. There is often a lack of awareness of neighbouring residents’ concerns and no clear process for addressing these concerns, as the HCC seem relatively powerless to enforce permit conditions. There is a worrying precedent for neither developers nor contractors to take responsibility for ensuring correct processes are followed so that each party blames the other for shortfalls in their building practices. When this happens council is unable to prosecute either party and legal action has to be abandoned.
Our suggestions are:
1. That developers, particularly of large-scale works, be required to attend regular (ie. monthly) consultations with local residents and with the HCC prior to, and during, construction activity.
2. That developers employ a firm or individual who is responsible for ensuring compliance with permit conditions and liaising with neighbouring residents and the HCC. Open communication channels are a key element.
Increased local traffic
Both current and proposed subdivisions in this area will increase the amount of traffic. Existing traffic impact assessments submitted as part of development applications have neglected the fact that there is already a significant amount of subdivided land in the area and as these blocks are gradually built upon we will face significant increases in traffic even if no new subdivisions are approved.
We have looked at approximate minimum figures based on existing subdivided land and proposed subdivisions and these suggest that this area will see a future increase in traffic of at least 50% over the next few years. So far this has been ignored in subdivision applications.
We have a number of concerns regarding traffic management issues. It would be useful for developers, in collaboration with HCC and the Tasmanian Fire Service, to undertake some modelling of emergency bushfire traffic management – specifically addressing whether existing bottlenecks (Romily St and Lynton Av) would be able to cope with increased traffic resulting from a compulsory bushfire emergency evacuation of Ridgeway, Waterworks Rd and Dynnyrne Rd over a 1 or 2 hour period.
The number of houses and associated vehicles on Waterworks Rd is increasing every year yet little is being done to address potential risks. It is important that developers take this factor into account and this to our knowledge has never been done.
Recent building works have caused a number of safety concerns with school children forced to walk in the middle of the road due to contractors parking on the footpath and blocking access. Contractors are unable to park anywhere else as the road is too narrow to allow parking (on both sides) and building delivery trucks – particularly concrete trucks – to pass. Little has been done to address this ongoing issue. We suggest that a detailed building traffic plan be submitted as part of all new development applications. This plan should detail options such as temporary new No Standing zones, mobile traffic lights and new pedestrian crossings to allow Waterworks Rd to remain open and safe to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic during construction works. Given the scope of some of the proposed developments in this area such traffic measures may need to remain in place for several years.
Waterworks Rd is relatively narrow and winding with numerous parked cars. Collisions with parked cars are frequent as shown by the statistical data submitted as part of development applications, despite many going unreported. Collisions with wildlife occur weekly as shown by the statistics we have collected over the years. It is therefore important that any further development must not add to the accident rates and wherever possible improve the overall safety of the road for pedestrian, local traffic and wildlife.
We have noted during developments in the area that earthworks encourage rapid propagation of weeds. Most applications have a weed management plan that includes wash-down procedures for machinery but these are impossible to monitor so builders almost invariably ignore them. New owners of subdivided blocks tend to be unaware of any weed management requirements prescribed in the planning applications. What can be done to improve this?
1) We suggest that comprehensive weed management plans be drafted as part of all applications for development in this area, with developers required to enter into a legally binding 5-year weed management contract with a specialist weed management company to eradicate and control weeds at the development site.
2) A wash-down station needs to be constructed on site, with adequate signage informing subcontractors of their responsibilities prior to the start of earthmoving.
3) Monthly meetings between the developer, the HCC and the local community would also help as these would allow neighbouring residents to raise any issues in a timely manner.
Bush Fire safety
As local residents we are aware that most of the houses along Waterworks Rd burnt in the 1967 bushfires and that this could happen again in the future. Bush fire management plans need to be comprehensive including considering the following issues:
1. Evacuation routes.
2. Modelling of loss of mains water pressure that is likely to occur in a bushfire.
3. The provision of stored fire-fighting water on the individual blocks.
4. Management of native vegetation. Wholesale clearing is not required or recommended by the TFS and has a detrimental effect on wildlife, visual amenity, bushland values and privacy.
Advice from bushland and fire management experts submitted as part of development applications have stated that buildings should not be allowed south (higher up the hill) of the 150m contour. This seems a sensible way to ensure that the steep hill slopes, which are difficult to build on, remain in their natural state. The hill slopes would also be difficult for evacuation in bushfire emergency and are potentially a problem for drainage, erosion and landslip issues.
The Waterworks Valley has a number of Aboriginal and historically significant sites. Cultural heritage surveys are seldom undertaken in subdivision applications in the area. This has the potential to cause the destruction of culturally significant sites.
Bushland management, open spaces & bush tracks
Many people in the valley appreciate its bushland values and its proximity to public parks and bush tracks. Development applications should try to add new open spaces, bush tracks and public bushland areas as well as preserve existing bushland, wildlife corridors and threatened plants or plant communities.
We would encourage the council to actively promote small-scale, low impact, sustainable subdivision proposals more suited to the challenges of this valley with its steep slopes, narrow roads, bushfire risk, heritage and bushland values. It is at the planning stage when provisions must be put in place to ensure appropriate development occurs in the future.