The lasting impact of intense, high-rise accommodation and luxury Hotels in Tasmania, like those suggested by the Singapore-based Fragrance Group at the historic precinct of Sullivan’s Cove, will be felt most deeply at street level but only after the fact, when reflective wisdom is no longer of any value.
It is the ground level people who work, live and shop in town that will unfortunately go through the worst of all these intense developments.
The most discernible effect of the increased high-rises is going to be the inclusion of tens of thousands of additional vehicles and traffic into the already clogged streets of a town fighting with persistent gridlock through peak-hour traffic.
Combined, both suggested resorts in Davey and Collins roads provides around 1400 added new rooms for people.
If only half of those occupants used a motor vehicle, this development may mean that up to an extra700 automobiles on Hobart roads every day in the high season.
And where will they park their vehicles?
The Fragrance Group can’t provide anywhere near the required parking to pay for the necessary capacity for its potential guests.
Firstly, there is not the area to do this in the crowded Sullivan’s Cove precinct as well.
And if the Group’s past dealings reveal anything it is that they have little interest in providing sufficient parking to its guests. Who is to say that we won’t see residents sell property and relocate, whether that be somewhere else in Tasmania or potentially the mainland which would be a huge blow for the state.
The firm’s recently completed hotel Ibis Styles at Macquarie Street provides just 43 automobile parking spaces to satisfy the requirements of guests that occupy the resort’s total of 296 rooms.
In addition, that the Fragrance Group apparently plans to target the markets of Asia because of its patrons, means big tourist groups on package vacations.
As a consequence, tourist buses will further increase the town’s traffic congestion as they manoeuvre throughout the roads and laneways of Hobart’s historic waterfront.
And where will they park to allow passengers to board and disembark?
For the retailers and company housing of Hobart’s central business district, there will be an impact that only a handful, if any, will be expecting.
Inevitably, the extra traffic backlog will most likely see neighbourhood suburban shoppers and business clients less willing to commute into the city centre to the massive shopping malls in Glenorchy, Kingston and Rosny at which there is ample parking free of any price tag.
That will have a hugely detrimental influence on the CBD revitalisation, a project that has seen the local council and retailers alike have been fighting to achieve.
The prospect is for organisational failures and increase unemployment because the lifeblood is emptied out of the CBD.
And since Asian tour parties tend to eat together as well since their packages usually contain eating at the hotel, there will be minimal advantage for beverage and food outlets, such as restaurants, cafes, takeaways and pubs.
While naturally, there will be increased employment opportunities for individuals working in housekeeping and in food and drink, even that also will come in at a price since the majority of these people fulfilling these roles will themselves need parking.
No one intends on begrudging growth, especially in the town’s burgeoning tourism market. But it is not possible to think there might be one individual who visualises skyscraper resorts when they consider Hobart.
They are an abomination to our town’s iconic waterfront and Historic settlement precinct as opposed to the best hotels in Tasmania, and also to Hobart’s overall appeal as a tourist destination.
If we really do want high-rise hotel improvements in any way, which should never come to skyscrapers, there are loads of development areas around town which neither impinge nor inflict on the historic Sullivan’s Cove area
It is in those surrounding regions where these larger scale improvements are themselves best suited.
That way, the financial advantage can be dispersed around, and traffic management and parking will probably be a lot more manageable.
The Fragrance Group proposals offer a crucial evaluation of our admiration for all that was gifted to us in relation to Hobart’s scenic appeal, environment and architectural heritage.
It can also be a test of our dedication to safeguard and improve those very things that make our town so unique and attractive.
Of course, the skyscraper improvements will supply jobs in building in addition to continuing advantages to providers of goods and service organisations increased housing prices and the potential increase of no commission real estate.
But, when balanced against the harm to the public brand of Hobart as a tourist destination and the town’s liveability, the net benefit will most likely be negative.