University of Tasmania
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Sustainable hilside planning for Glenorchy

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posted on 2023-05-27, 13:23 authored by Marsden, Cheramie Julia
The sprawl which characterises most Australian cities has meant that hillsides within the urban setting have become increasingly threatened by inappropriate, unsustainable development. A major factor which enables such developments to occur is the lack of information on the environmental qualities of the hillsides. If this information is not available when planning authorities are formulating planning policies and making decisions, the most sustainable use of the land can not be considered. It also means that any planning control mechanisms that are established may not be adequate in terms of protecting these environmental values. Cities such as Glenorchy in the Greater Hobart Area of Tasmania have a 'sustainability advantage' over many other Australian cities by virtue of their limited population growth and comparatively 'natural' surroundings. However, as this case study of the Glenorchy Municipal Area shows, urban expansion is still prevalent. If the precautionary principle is not heeded more of the natural hillside areas which contribute to the creation of the sense of place and wellbeing may be lost. A brief historical background to people's attitudes towards the natural environment is examined, tracing perceptions from early settlement to the current emphasis on sustainable development and the maintenance of biological diversity. As well as providing an indication of how natural areas are valued, it reveals that the public of today tend to be very aware of environmental degradation caused by insensitive development controls. The new resource management and planning system of Tasmania reflects the public's concern for environmental protection by placing more responsibility on local government to explicitly consider the effects of any use or development (including subdivision) on the natural environment. Key environmental characteristics of Glenorchy, namely slope, vegetation, fire hazards, land stability (geology), and visual prominence are discussed and mapped. This exercise emphasised the lack of current information on characteristics such as the vegetation types and the location of any rare, threatened and endangered species and communities. The study concludes that the urban/bush interface is of central concern to the protection of the environmental qualities of the hills, as it is in this area that future development is most likely to occur. A number of broad recommendations for the hillsides of Glenorchy are made, along with more specific recommendations relating to the urban/bush interface, termed the Hillside Conservation Area. The recommendations are:- 1. Short Term ‚Äö Undertake a comprehensive environmental inventory of the hillsides of Glenorchy; and ‚Äö Establish Guidelines for the Hillside Conservation Area, which can be also used to assess discretionary developments in the existing Landscape and Conservation Zone. 2. Medium Term ‚Äö Re-evaluate the Landscape and Conservation Zone boundary and those zones situated in the Hillside Conservation Area, especially the Future Urban Zones. 3. Medium/Long Term ‚Äö Lobby for a State Policy on sustainable hillside planning to ensure a consistent and coordinated planning approach throughout the State.


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