Mac Point moves forward
The way forward for Hobart’s Macquarie Point – including possible residential development and the removal of the sewage treatment plant – will be laid on the table when legislation is introduced into parliament shortly.
The State Government says the legislation will outline a clear plan for the site’s development.
Spanning just over nine hectares of Hobart’s prime waterfront, Macquarie Point has the potential to become a national – perhaps even international – landmark.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Tasmanians to have their first real iconic structure,” Brand Tasmania Chairman, Michael Grainger, explains.
“Whether it is a concert hall, a convention centre, or an Antarctic precinct, that really doesn’t matter. What matters is that we use the opportunity that this space presents to build something world-class.
“Macquarie Point is the entry point to the capital city of Tasmania, and that alone demands a structure that people identify with Hobart: just as they identify the Opera house with Sydney, or the Eiffel Tower with Paris.
“The sooner we get onto it, the better.”
Hot on the heels of news that the green light has been given to the removal of the sewage treatment plant, Macquarie Point is set to take centre stage in state parliament.
Earlier this year, the Tasmanian Government announced it was preparing “new legislation to make sure we can seize the opportunities that Macquarie Point presents".
Last month, State Growth Minister, Peter Gutwein, added that the legislation would “outline a clear plan for development of the site that is faithful to the MONA vision and will help unlock the site’s massive potential".
“The site is now transitioning from the remediation phase to the investment and development phase,” he explained.
The key to this is the removal of the sewage treatment plant, a four-year project costing around $120 million, widely considered the most significant impediment to development.
“Clearly the biggest issue we face is the waste water treatment plant. There are no silver bullets and no easy fixes to this issue,” Mr Gutwein said.
“The State Government is prepared to make additional funding available to assist TasWater to decommission and relocate the Macquarie Point wastewater treatment plant subject to a funding model being developed that is acceptable to TasWater, its local Government owners and the State.”
It has taken some years to get to this point.
In 2012, the Federal Government got the ball rolling by handing over $50 million to begin transformation of the site.
Shortly afterwards, the Macquarie Point Development Corporation was set up with a charter to guide what it describes as one of the “last great inner-capital city development projects".
“The vision for Mac Point puts front and centre uses that showcase Tasmania’s strengths – arts, culture, design, tourism and science,” the Development Corporation's website explains.
“It’s a development which will deliver an extraordinary precinct for Tasmanians and the nation.”
In late 2016, MONA joined the conversation.
MONA founder, David Walsh, and his team were engaged to add their touch to a bold new vision for the site.
The resulting concept envisages half of Macquarie Point set aside as public space, incorporating a cultural precinct celebrating Tasmania’s aboriginal history with a National Truth and Reconciliation Art Park.
Science and tourism would fill out the rest.
Recognising Hobart’s status as the gateway to the icy continent, a proposed Antarctic precinct is given prominence and co-exists with hotels, cafes, art galleries, retail stores and possibly a convention centre.
It is a masterplan that is still evolving and could cost upwards of one billion dollars and take decades to complete.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“We need to get it right,” Michael Grainger stresses.
“Whatever is put there must be world-class.
“It must be something that everyone in Tasmania will be proud of.”
Image courtesy of The Mercury
14 October 2018, Edition 199