River com­muter service chance for coun­cils’ sup­port

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - JES­SICA HOWARD

A FERRY service on the River Der­went is gain­ing mo­men­tum with the Ho­bart City Coun­cil con­sid­er­ing lob­by­ing the State Gov­ern­ment and neigh­bour­ing coun­cils to fund a busi­ness case.

A re­port pre­pared by SGS Eco- nomics and Plan­ning af­ter a roundtable meet­ing in July of po­ten­tial stake­hold­ers found the key to a suc­cess­ful River Der­went ferry service would most likely lie in de­vel­op­ing suit­able ter­mi­nals and fa­cil­i­ties.

Close to 50 par­tic­i­pants fo­cused on four key ques­tions around traf­fic con­ges­tion, tourism, en­hanced com­mun- ity per­cep­tion and pro­vi­sion of shore­based fa­cil­i­ties.

In­fra­struc­ture Min­is­ter Rene Hid­ding said the Gov­ern­ment still be­lieved fer­ries could be an im­por­tant part of Ho­bart’s fu­ture ac­tive trans­port mix.

Ho­bart City Coun­cil’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­mit­tee will vote on Thurs­day on whether to rec­om­mend the coun­cil: SEEK a com­mit­ment from the South­ern Tas­ma­nian Coun­cils Author­ity and the Brighton, Clarence, Glenorchy and King­bor­ough coun­cils to jointly fund a study to ex­am­ine the po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ment around ferry stops. PRE­PARE a busi­ness case for the most promis­ing op­tions for a River Der­went ferry service with the State Gov­ern­ment and neigh­bour­ing coun­cils. COM­MIT to con­trib­ute up to $20,000 for a po­ten­tial joint study on ex­ist­ing dock­ing fa­cil­i­ties and the de­vel­op­ment of ferry nodes, as well as the busi­ness case.

ES­TAB­LISH a smaller work­ing group from the par­tic­i­pants of the fo­rum to act as a work­ing and ref­er­ence group. ASK the State Gov­ern­ment to progress its South­ern In­te­grated Trans­port Plan 2010, par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas of mul­ti­modal in­te­grated tick­et­ing, real time trans­port data and con­nected trans­port routes.

The mo­tion will then be con­sid­ered by the full coun­cil in a fort­night.

The SGS re­port noted the case for fer­ries sig­nif­i­cantly ad­dress­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion was not con­vinc­ingly made on the day of the fo­rum.

While con­ges­tion was the cat­a­lyst for tak­ing an­other look at the pos­si­bil­ity of fer­ries on the Der­went, the re­port found that would not be the lead­ing rea­son for its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Fer­ries were more seen as some­thing that would pro­vide an ad­di­tion to the char­ac­ter and amenity of Greater Ho­bart.

There was an em­pha­sis on mak­ing the fer­ries them­selves a unique, state-of-the-art at­trac­tion.

The re­port also found a well-de­signed, mod­ern and ef­fi­cient service could be less ex­pen­sive than past reports had sug­gested and that com­muter and tourist fer­ries would likely need dif­fer­ent ap­proaches.

“There is also a de­gree of agree­ment that for fer­ries to work, it takes more than set­ting up some suit­able, well de­signed dock­ing lo­ca­tions with a pass­ing bus con­nec­tion and hop­ing pas­sen­gers will come,” the re­port said.

“De­vel­op­ing at­trac­tions, denser de­vel­op­ment and con­nec­tions to walk­ing/cy­cling and other links are sug­gested to re­in­force and sup­port a se­ries of ferry-cen­tric nodes along the river.”

Al­der­man Philip Cocker, whose mo­tion in May last year kick-started the coun­cil’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions into fer­ries, said the first log­i­cal step would be to start with a ba­sic com­muter service and build from there.

“If we get com­muter fer­ries up and op­er­at­ing Mon­day to Fri­day then it makes sense to turn them into a tourist service of a week­end,” he said.

Mr Hid­ding said the Gov­ern­ment re­mained open to bring­ing fer­ries into Ho­bart’s fu­ture trans­port mix.

“Once the fi­nal re­port is for­mally made avail­able to the Gov­ern­ment, we will of course con­sider it in more de­tail along with any pro­posal for the dif­fer­ent lev­els of gov­ern­ment to work to­gether on plan­ning and fund­ing more de­tailed anal­y­sis,” he said.

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