Development at Kangaroo Bay, Bellerive, Tasmania
The traditional land of the Moomairemener people. When settled in the 1820s it became known as Kangaroo Point, and in the 1830s was renamed Bellerive meaning “beautiful river bank”.
This area has been appreciated by some of the great figures of history. Charles Darwin walked the shores when he stepped from the Beagle, and the view of Hobart Town from Kangaroo Bay has been immortalised by Henry Gritten, Eugene von Guerard, John Glover, WC Piguenit and Arthur Streeton.
In January 2017 Clarence City Council approved a development application for a Hotel and a Hospitality Training School & Apartments to be built in Kangaroo Bay on Hobart’s Eastern Shore.
The development application comprises two buildings designed by architect and development consortium partner Robert Morris-Nunn; a 5-storey hotel building on the Kangaroo Bay foreshore extending into the bay, linked by an above ground walkway to a second 5-storey building with frontage on Cambridge Road.
The development will be built on a parcel of land comprising former crown land (including significant reclaimed land) and a parcel of council land which has been sold to Chambroad Petrochemicals for $2.4 million.
In December 2017 Clarence City Council approved a second development application for the site. Robert Morris-Nunn and Chambroad Petrochemicals now have two approved development applications for the site and may build either one. Construction was expected to begin in mid-2018.
Whilst initial works have been undertaken on the development, work has been delayed.
In June 2019 the Council spent $6000 of ratepayers money to send Mayor Doug Chipman to Binzhou China the home of Chambroad Petrochemicals on a trip with the State Co-ordinator General to find out why the development has stalled.
Mayor Chipman reported back to the Council on 17 June the delay is because Chambroad Petrochemicals has been waiting for an education provider for the hospitality school component of the development.
TasTAFE and Chambroad Petrochemicals signed an agreement for service delivery at the Kangaroo Bay hotel and training facility during a China trade mission in 2016. The State Government allocated $200,000 in the 2017-18 budget to assist TasTAFE’s involvement in the venture.
On 4 June 2019 Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff told a budget estimates committee that TasTAFE had withdrawn from the project. TasTAFE chief executive Jenny Dodd said this was because the organisation was not qualified to provide the training the developers sought.
Mayor Chipman reported there are now two possible education providers one of which is UTAS and the other is from the mainland. Chambroad Petrochemicals chairman Mr Ma will now visit Tasmania to meet with UTAS vice-chancellor Rufus Black.
Chambroad Petrochemicals has not confirmed if works will proceed prior to the November 2019 extended deadline for construction. According to Mayor Chipman they are not prepared to commence construction until a hospitality partner is confirmed.
A buy back clause is included in the land sale contract.
REASONS FOR OBJECTING TO THE DEVELOPMENT
The community opposes this development on the following grounds:
The height, size, scale and design of the developments is not appropriate for Bellerive Village and the surrounding residential area.
Loss of heritage value and amenity.
There was no community consultation on a vital change to the Kangaroo Bay Strategy Plan made on 9 January 2017 (three days before the community objection period finished) to comply with the development application.
Increase in daily traffic movements by 1,640 per day (a 4000% increase) in an area with sports field, skate park, bike and walking tracks, a playground and schools.
The developers have been given a special calculated discount of 143 car spaces but are only able to provide 61 on site (first DA) or 70 on site (second DA). Council will build a temporary carpark for the outstanding number of discounted car spaces (ratepayers will foot the shortfall in costs) but Council has no long term solutions to parking and traffic issues in the area.
8,900sqm of Crown and public foreshore land was sold for $2.4 million with costs to make the area ready for development estimated at $2.7 million to date, with much work still required to be completed.
The original Urban Design Concept Plan has been totally ignored.
Clarence Council and the State Government have refused to release information regarding the contract and negotiations with Chambroad Petrochemicals.
The Clarence Interim Planning Scheme 2015
This scheme provided for buildings along Cambridge Road to be a maximum 2-storeys high with a 6m setback, and allowing open vistas to the bay, city and mountain.
The building housing the hospitality training school (not TasTAFE) and apartments on Cambridge Road is well outside the Clarence Interim Planning Scheme 2015 guidelines. It is a 5-storey building 20.2m high and 83m long with minimal setback from Cambridge Road.
The building’s frontage on Cambridge Road will be 4-storeys high, standing 13.6m above the existing road level. This is twice the height of the Cambridge Road overpass.
It will form a continuous solid structure with no breaks, obscuring views of the bay, city and mountain as well as being totally out of place with nearby buildings on Cambridge Road, the majority of which are single storey dwellings. This building clearly does not meet the guidelines set out in the Clarence Interim Planning Scheme 2015. Clarence City Council has granted approval under the lax rules of the Kangaroo Bay Strategy Plan.
Lack of transparency by Council in advertising and publicising the development.
The timing of the application for this development seemed designed to minimise public scrutiny.
Council advertised the planning application on 17 December 2016 with representations closing on 12 January 2017. This was during the busy Christmas/New Year period when people were either preoccupied with Christmas preparations or on holidays. It is usual for businesses to close over this period causing difficulty for people seeking professional advice to address the legal and planning implications of the development.
Council only notified 120 properties about the DA.
The second building housing the hospitality training school & apartments was never shown to the public before the application was lodged on 17 December 2016, and was never included in any media publicity about the development.
On 9 January 2017, Council sought and was granted an urgent amendment to the Clarence Interim Planning Scheme 2015, just three days before the advertised public comment period closed on 12 January 2017. The amendment removed grounds for objection based on the allowable area for accommodation associated with the development.
Council released its 72-page document with details of the development and recommendation for approval on the morning of Friday 20 January 2017, just hours before the 12 noon closing time for submission of deputations. The Planning Authority Meeting convened to hear the deputations and make its decision for the following Monday evening 23 January 2017.
Council rules permitted only three deputations objecting to the proposal and chosen by Council to be heard in a three-minute statement addressing the meeting, followed by questions from aldermen.
There is a shortage of parking spaces as stipulated by planning regulations governing the development. 191 car parking spaces are required to be provided for the development, but only 61 car parking spaces are being provided. Due to the shortfall, Clarence City Council has requested the developer pay a sum of $840,000 representing 84 parking spaces costing $10,000 each. Clarence Council may choose to build one or more car parks to address the parking shortfall.
Council trip to China
On 27 February 2017 Council voted to accept an invitation by Binzhou City, China to send a Council delegation to visit the city to explore opportunities for co-operation and a longer term relationship between Binzhou City and Clarence City.
The decision followed a visit by Binzhou City officials to Clarence in October 2016.
Binzhou is the home city of Chambroad Petrochemicals, the investment company proposing to develop the recently approved hotel and hospitality training school & apartments in Kangaroo Bay. The delegation comprised the General Manager Andrew Paul, Mayor Doug Chipman, and Aldermen Heather Chong, Sharon von Bertouch and James Walker. Alderman Debra Thurley, Daniel Hulme and John Peers took up the option to travel with the delegation at their own expense.
Second Development Application Lodged
Council advertised a second DA from Robert Morris-Nunn and Chambroad Petrochemicals for the Kangaroo Bay site on 26 October 2017.
Again, Council only notified 120 properties about the DA.
Following sustained community pressure, on 28 November 2017 Clarence Council finally disclosed the sale price of $2.4 million for the crown and public land sold to Chambroad Petrochemicals.
The second DA was approved at a Special Meeting of the Clarence Council on 18 December 2017. 150 community members protested outside Council Chambers. Special Meeting agenda and Council report available here.
Yes votes: Doug Chipman, Jock Campbell, Heather Chong, Peter Cusick, Doug Doust, Daniel Hulme, Kay McFarlane, John Peers, Debra Thurley, Sharyn von Bertouch, James Walker.
No vote: Richard James.
Robert Morris-Nunn and Chambroad Petrochemicals now have two approved DAs. They threatened the community that if an objection is lodged for the second DA with the Planning Appeals Tribunal they would withdraw the second DA and revert to the first DA.
The deadline for an appeal was 5pm Thursday 4 January 2018.
An appeal was lodged seeking to ensure the permit includes conditions to ensure compliance with relevant state policy. The matter went to the Resource Management & Planning Appeal Tribunal on Monday 15 January 2018. Through mediation, the permit for the development now includes additional conditions to ensure compliance with relevant state policy.
Stage 1 of work on the Wharf Site commenced in July 2018 including reclamation of the bay and was completed in October 2018. It was expected Clarence Council would begin the process of assessing and approving the remaining stages of the project. The DA submitted to the Council contained some 'preliminary drawings - not for construction', which meant the community remains uninformed on the 'final design for tender' drawings and on exactly what is being built, how it will be built and how it will be managed.
As part of the conditions from the Planning Appeals Tribunal, the developer must supply to Clarence Council and have in place for commencement of construction:
- Contruction Management Plan
- Construction Environmental Management Plan
- Preliminary site contamination assessment
- Silt curtain installed around reclamation and construction site
- Spotted handfish and seastar surveys inside the construction silt curtain and removal of pests in the area
- Emergency oil or fuel spill kits in place
- Water quality monitoring program commenced
- Erosion and sediment control plans including on site water management
Kangaroo Bay Voice was unable to get confirmation from Clarence Council as to whether any or all of these have been supplied.
Local Government elections were held on 30 October 2018. Jock Campbell and Doug Doust did not stand for election. Peter Cusick, Daniel Hulme, Kay McFarlane and Debra Thurley lost their seats.
Doug Chipman retained Mayor by experiences a 20% drop in first preference votes. Brendan Blomeley, Luke Edmunds, Wendy Kennedy, Tony Mulder and Beth Warren were elected to Council.
Mayor's Trip to China
On 6 May 2019 the Council voted to spend $6000 of ratepayers money to send Mayor Doug Chipman to Binzhou China the home of Chambroad Petrochemicals. A meeting with Chambroad was to be "a major component of the investment mission" being organised by the State Co-ordinator General. According to Clarence Council: "Whilst initial works have been undertaken on the development [Kangaroo Bay], work has been delayed...[therefore] it is appropriate for the Mayor to participate in the mission to obtain first hand an understanding of the issues in regard to the future timelines and progress for the Kangaroo Bay development, and Chambroad’s continued commitment to the development."
University of Tasmania Involvement
Following TasTAFE's withdrawal from the project, on 18 October 2019 UTAS decided to become Chambroad Petrochemical’s hospitality course provider.
Boulevard Site Development Application
On 29 October 2019 preferred developer Robert Morris-Nunn unveiled his plans to build 100 luxury apartments and townhouses on the public land known as the Kangaroo Bay Boulevard Site.
A development application for the Boulevard Site is likely to be submitted in early 2020.
CONCLUSION AND CALL FOR ACTION
The recently announced uniform State Government Planning Scheme will relax rules relating to height, setbacks, housing density and block size with no requirement for these to be advertised as part of the planning approvals process. The new rules favour developers, making it more difficult for individuals to object to developments affecting their properties and impacting their quality of life, and may lead to over-development in some areas.
The conveners of Kangaroo Bay Voice are pro-development and we welcome proposals for this and other sites in Kangaroo Bay currently earmarked for development. Any development must be in harmony with the surrounding natural and built environment, and follow proper process to allow the Clarence community to be informed and participate in real community consultation about the use of public land and development decisions affecting their community.
Keep Kangaroo Bay and other Clarence developments, the sale of crown and public land (Rosny Hill Nature Recreation Reserve, Wirksworth Park, Bellerive Bluff), lack of community consultation and transparency by Clarence Council in the news by sending a letter to the editor: http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/letter-to-the-editor or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Or email your Aldermen and let them know what you think:
Doug Chipman (Mayor): email@example.com
Heather Chong (Deputy Mayor): firstname.lastname@example.org
Brendan Blomeley: email@example.com
Luke Edmunds: firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard James: email@example.com
Wendy Kennedy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Warren: email@example.com