25 May 2015

Time to call on the Minister for Infrastructure re traffic speeds at Caldew Park

You probably heard the excellent news that Hobart City Council strongly approved Alderman Anna Reynolds' motion to urge the State Government to reduce the speed limit on the roads surrounding Caldew Park (the train park).  In fact, Lord Mayor Sue Hickey was keen to add her voice personally to the issue.  This is a very strong endorsement of our position, which is great news.

The Council has now sent its formal letter to Rene Hidding, the Minister for Infrastructure, for consideration by the Dept of State Growth.  The full letter is available here.  It contains additional data and useful arguments.

It is time now for as many people as possible to contact the Minister and other Members of the House of Assembly for Denison, to apply as much pressure as possible for a positive response to the Council's approach.


Ask the Minister or your MP to support the speed limit reduction, and offer to meet them onsite so that you can show them the issues of concern.

Contact details:

The Hon Rene Hidding MP
Minister for Infrastructure
Level 1, Franklin Square
Hobart Tas 7000

Ph:  (03) 6165 7686


The Hon Matthew Groom MP
Minister for State Growth
10th Floor, Executive Building,
15 Murray Street,
Hobart  7000.

(03) 6165 7739

The Hon Elise Archer MP
62 Main Road,
Moonah  7009.

(03) 6212 2210

Mr Scott Bacon MP
353 Main Road,
Glenorchy 7010.

(03) 6212 2383

It would be great to hear how many people have followed up on this, so pls drop a note back to whenvnet@gmail.com or put a comment under this article, thanks!!!

24 May 2015

Film screening: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

On Thursday May 28, 2015 from 6.30pm - 9.00pm, Vegetarian Tasmania and Sea Shepherd Australia (Hobart chapter) are hosting a screening of the ground-breaking feature-length environmental documentary, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.  The film follows an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today - and investigates why the world's leading environmental organisations are too afraid to talk about it.  The film will be followed by a Q&A session with a panel of experts to discuss the issues raised in the film.
Venue details - Stanley Burbury Theatre, UTas, Churchill Avenue, Sandy Bay

For more information about the film and the Q&A session:

The official trailer can be viewed on You Tube:

Tickets are also available beforehand  ($10 adult, $5 student / concession):

26 April 2015

Spring Garden Planning workshop, and Margaret's May gardening notes

Spring Garden Planning Workshop

Permaculture Tasmania is advertising what looks like a wonderful winter workshop on preparing the garden for Spring. 
Spring Garden Planning
Sunday 26th July, 9:00am – 4:00pm
The Little Seed, Franklin
Many factors influence the amount of produce that we harvest from our gardens, and there is no doubt that forward planning increases yield. Winter is the perfect time to do this planning, and get all the beds prepared before the mad dash that hits us during spring in Tasmania.
The workshop covers:
  • Building healthy soil
  • Garden base maps
  • Timing – what to grow and when to sow
  • Crop rotation
  • Companion planting
  • Bed preparation and planting out
There will be an opportunity to plan your own bountiful harvests during the workshop, so bring a rough sketch showing a few of your garden beds, with a note about what is currently growing in the beds and when the beds will be empty.
The workshop is being hosted by Penny Milburn, an experienced practitioner and trainer who completed her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2008 with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton. She has since trained over 300 people at workshops in both Sydney and Tasmania, and currently works for the National Environment Centre teaching on-line Accredited Permaculture Training to students across Australia and as far away as Italy and Samoa.
The venue is The Little Seed, a 15-acre permaculture property overlooking the Huon River. The strawbale home with earthen floors and innovative grey water system have both featured in the Owner Builder Magazine, and the water harvesting system with established food forest incorporating chickens and ducks is an excellent demonstration of the productivity that can be achieved, even on a south facing landscape at 43 degrees.
Cost: $75 / $65 Permaculture Tasmania members (includes a scrumptious lunch)
For enquiries call Penny on 0408 269 765 or email thelittleseed@yahoo.com
I also spotted a useful article:

Planting Notes for May

MAY Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Sugar Snap Peas  x x x
(1st planting -pregerminate and then sow direct)

Snowpea x x x
(1st planting -pregerminate and then sow direct)

Protect from birds until 100mm high.

Into Punnets:

Lettuce (slow) Plant out in July

x x
Cabbages  (small species) Plant out in July
x x x
Cauliflower "Garant" - Plant out in July
x x x

24 April 2015

Community Engagement Forum worked a treat

Hobart City Council's second "community engagement" at Mt Stuart Hall last night actually succeeded in their objective of getting people along to ask questions of their Council and share some of their concerns.  It was well attended, with over 40 residents there, and it was good to see several Aldermen as well as the sturdy senior managers from the Council, who probably don't get paid overtime for these out of hours events.

General Manager Nick Heath gave a (too brief) overview of Council's priorities over the next 10 years, it would have been nice to have heard some more detail of actual strategies which are in train.  And he noted five construction projects which are currently underway in the city.

WHEN's Margaret S asked the question about what is being planned to build the greater community, and Mark Painter referred to the Shopping Precinct project which is focussing on improving the shape of several shopping areas.  In response to Margaret's question about what the Council is doing toward progressing a greater Hobart integrated transport strategy, Mark P squibbed a little, noting that this is something Council would be expecting Dept of State Growth to take a lead on.  He didn't actually say where we are at with this.  To another resident's query about a reduction in bus stops, he suggested she should take it up with Metro Tasmania.  While this is the correct first response, it also served to illustrate the interconnectedness of our traffic problems and the transport solutions.

WHEN's Trine H congratulated Council on its decision to pursue State Growth on the matter of declaring a lower speed limit zone around the busy playground area of Caldew Park.  It would be nice to know whether the Council has sent their letter of request to State Growth yet.  Trine asked about recycling of soft plastics and whether Council will collect food scraps for composting in the new Green Waste bins which will be coming soon.  Roger Viney gave a very complete and detailed response, noting that soft plastics depends on the capabilities of the COouncil's new contracted recycler, and that at this stage it is unlikely that food scraps will be collected, due to risks of odour etc.  He also advised that Council will be introducing bins for recyclables where rubbish bins are installed around the town, which is great news.

Other good news heard included:
- Nick Heath declared that the Council is very supportive of the Jan Gehl report of 2010, and swore that it will result in big changes to the city
- he also stated that Council is opposed to extension of the public zone at the top of Mt Wellington, and supports development at the Springs rather than at the Pinnacle

Council was urged to be more proactive in contacting landowners with vegetation out of control well before the annual fire season.

Police Inspector David Plumpton also took the opportunity to address the residents.  He emphasised that Hobart is a very safe city and that the more people who are out and about the safer it is. But people's perceptions may be that there is danger that keeps them (particularly the elderly) at home.  He would like us to contact him and his staff to talk about any concerns we might have.

30 March 2015

Community Engagement Forum - Thursday 23 April, 7pm - and more on the Rat Run

 Hobart City Council is trialling a new way to engage in conversation with their residents.  Our first opportunities are coming up, with one in South Hobart on Wednesday 8 April, and one even closer on Thursday 23 April, at Mt Stuart Hall.  Time:  6.30pm for 7pm.  More details can be found here:

Do try and get to one of these gatherings, and raise the issues that concern you.  For example, this is a great opportunity to canvass traffic issues!!

Traffic flowing through West Hobart

Here's the article in today's Mercury focussing on the rat run (volumes and speeds) of traffic through West Hobart.  Di was misstated in the article as representing the West Hobart Residents Traffic Committee.  In fact, that committee is administered by Hobart City Council.  Di does attend that committee along with a number of other residents.  However her comments for the purposes of the article were in her role of member of West Hobart Environment Network.

Don't bother reading the comments on the article.  As is usually the case, the vast majority of them are selfish and/or ignorant.

The photo attached to the article shows the newly installed speed camera/monitor now seen by motorists heading southwards and up the hill across the road from the train park.  Wouldn't it be more useful to measure the speeds of cars heading downhill past the train park?

It would be nice if we could offer to show some of our Aldermen the situation on the ground at the train park.  Would anyone like to volunteer to do this? 

27 March 2015

Traffic speeds at the Train Park - pls contact your Alderman

Di attended the City Infrastructure Committee meeting on Wednesday, and observed as the committee (after much discussion) agreed to support a formal request going to the Dept of State Growth to have a lower speed Playground Zone declared around the Train Park.  This recommendation will be put to the full Council meeting (5pm, Monday 13 April, if anyone would like to attend) for decision as to whether to send this letter.

What Council has actually done in response to the petition from residents is to install one new warning sign on the southern approach to the park:
While this sign is welcome, we believe a stronger message is needed, with the strength of potential enforcement (i.e. the road speed limit reduced to 40 kph).

It is time that traffic engineers and planners were encouraged to move beyond the reported data on incidents on the road (crash performance, deaths and serious injuries) to consider the experience of all road users (such as perceptions of safety and the incidence of near misses).   Information on these aspects may have to come from users, either via survey or community reporting tools.  For example, Bicycle Network Tasmania operates a Riders' Log, where riders can report incidents, near misses and suggestions.

We think that Council sending this formal request is important in influencing State Growth to more seriously consider the issue.  It sends the message that both the safety of our children and the wellbeing of our community need protection, and that reducing the speed of traffic in the area would be a benefit.  Certainly we have to try something, given that there is no other means being offered at the moment to reduce the volumes and speed of cars driven by people making our neighbourhood their own private highway.

Prior to the Council meeting we should do all we can to make sure the Aldermen hear our concern on this issue and have a good chance to do their own research on the matter.  Please send an email or phone as many Aldermen as you can.  Below is a list of Aldermen with their contact details.   And here are some links for information and arguments you might like to include:

Our recent blog post about traffic and speed in West Hobart

Alderman Reynolds' Motion presented at the committee meeting

The petition signed by 103 residents  (see Item 7, Page 7).  The text of the petition is:  "We the undersigned ask you as a matter of urgency to traffic calm the intersection of Hill Street and Warwick Street where Caldew Park, a popular children's playground, is located.  Many vehicles speed down Hill Street, with some drivers actually accelerating to pass through this intersection with careless regard for the safety of the children walking to and from the playground".

Note: Three Aldermen have already expressed their support for the proposal, and we are grateful for their support.  They are: Alderman Anna Reynolds, who moved the motion, and Aldermen Helen Burnett and Philip Cocker, who supported the motion in the committee.

Lord Mayor Sue Hickey  lord.mayor@hobartcity.com.au
Deputy Lord Mayor Ron Christie  ronchristie@netspace.net.au
Tanya Denison  tanyamdenison@gmail.com
Suzy Cooper ald.cooper@hobartcity.com.au
Peter Sexton ptsexton@tassie.net.au
Eva Ruzicka eva@ruzicka.id.au
Jeff Briscoe jbriscoe@netspace.net.au
Damon Thomas damon.thomas@bigpond.com
Marti Zucco ald_zucco@netspace.net.au  

21 March 2015

Traffic speeds and volumes in West Hobart

Latest Residents' Traffic Committee meeting, 24 Feb

Margaret and Di attended the latest West Hobart Residents' Traffic Committee meeting as residents and as representatives of the West Hobart Environment Network. Di also represented Bicycle Network Tasmania.  Here are the Council's minutes of this meeting.  It was good to see three aldermen showing interest in our traffic issues:  Jeff Briscoe (who chaired the meeting), Anna Reynolds and Eva Ruszicka.  There was a strong contingent of residents, with four others as well as us (Kay's name was left out of the minutes).  As usual, the residents were there to express their concerns with various aspects of traffic in our suburb. Once again, it was a frustrating exercise, with the minutes only barely reflecting the range of the issues discussed.

Important new information obtained was that there is in fact a current Local Area Traffic Management plan for West Hobart.  It is pretty dated, and we were not provided with a copy, but Angela Moore (Mgr Traffic Engineering) committed to providing an update on the recommended works included in the plan.  This has still not been received, a month after the meeting.

It was agreed by all (as at the previous meeting) that West Hobart is subject to a rat run for commuters from the northern suburbs (Arthur/Hill/Melville/Bathurst Streets), and critical points of discussion at this meeting included the beginning, middle and end of the rat run, as well as the school zone in Lansdowne Crescent.

At the beginning of the rat run, the corner of Arthur St and Hill St, kerb bulbing and pedestrian refuges will be built to assist pedestrians to cross Hill St to get to the new Hill St Grocer shop.  Di's previous representations for consideration for slots in such kerb bulbing to allow cyclists to pass through without being forced into the path of faster travelling motorists are still being overlooked.  Not to mention representations to ensure space is left available for future provision of onroad bikelanes through West Hobart to connect with the rest of the city's bike network.

In the middle, a recent petition from residents to do something about the danger posed by traffic at the Caldew (train) Park was discussed.  New information provided at this meeting was that vehicle speeds had been measured in Warwick St, with an 85% percentile of 51 kph.  This effectively means that the average vehicle speed in Warwick St is actually OVER the current speed limit of 50kph. Of course that means that significant numbers of drivers are exceeding the speed limit here.

At the end of the rat run, there was general discussion about the poor signage to trucks about the traffic islands at the intersection of Barrack St and Bathurst St, and most people had observed drivers regularly taking illegal short cuts around the islands.

Meanwhile, Lansdowne Crescent School continues to have problems with so many parents dropping off and picking up children, parking on yellow lines and the edges of the dirt road within the carpark, and posing risks to other road users.

Margaret and I suggested (again) that Council needs to take a leadership role in addressing these traffic problems through developing a regional sustainable transport strategy which would describe how people could be encouraged to switch to public transport and/or personal active transport such as bikes, and which would include reduced speed limits in our precious local neighbourhoods so that our children could safely walk and ride to school.  In fact the Council's own Sustainable Transport Strategy is currently due for review but there was no indication of commitment to do this.  We thought that this need for more strategic action was taken on board by the Mgr Traffic Engineering and the Aldermen present, but there is no mention of it in the minutes.

Notice of Motion, Infrastructure Services Committee meeting, 25 March

It is pleasing therefore to see that Alderman Anna Reynolds is tabling a motion for discussion at the coming Infrastructure Services Committee meeting (5pm, Wednesday 25 March, Lady Osborne Room, 1st Floor, Town Hall), suggesting that a reduced speed "Playground Zone" be declared in the vicinity of the train park.

Motion:  That Council write to the State Government to:
-          request approval for the creation of a playground zone of 40kms per hour speed limit and appropriate signage in the area around Caldew Park on Hill Street, West Hobart.
-          that the letter explain the vulnerability of children’s safety in this area given the high visitation to the playground and speeds along the road.
-          that if approved Council move to implement the new playground zone in this location as a priority.

Establishment of a lower speed limit zone at this location would be a great benefit to parents and children using the park, and would declare that this is a local community which should be respected.  Are there any other Playground Zones in Hobart?

Do try and come along to observe this Infrastructure Services meeting, and support Alderman Reynolds with her innovative proposal.

17 March 2015

Meat Free Week

This post is to highlight Meat Free Week which is running from  the 23rd to the 29th March.  Meat Free Week is a campaign that aims to get people thinking about how much meat they eat, and the impact of eating too much. https://meatfreeweek.org/

If anyone would like to celebrate Meat Free Week with a vegan or vegetarian potluck meal, please contact me on 6234 7376 or at trinehooper@live.com and we can organise a time that suits those interested.  I've also typed up an offering of tried and tested animal-free recipes.  Please feel free to email me if any of these are of interest to you.  The recipes are:
1. Creamy Cauliflower and Cashew Nut Soup
2. Egyptian Red Lentil Soup
3. Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce
4. Easiest Moong Dahl
5. Beans Bourguignon
6. Eggplant, Vegetable and Lentil Pasta Sauce
7. Carrot, Sultana and Walnut Muffins
8. Blueberry Apple Crumble and Custard

For those wanting to understand more about the environmental impacts of meat consumption, a starting point is the discussion on the Meat Free Week website:

Another source of information is a brochure called Eating Up The World: The Environmental Consequences Of Human Food Choices which is available on the Vegetarian Victoria website (the link to the brochure in pdf format is about half way down the page)

Here's hoping someone might be inspired to share a neighbourly dinner!