River commuter service chance for councils’ support
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.