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Petition launched by opponents of private concrete jetty for Ralphs Bay

ABC NEWS logo ABC NEWS 7/10/2020 By Alexandra Alvaro
a rocky beach next to a body of water: Locals are against the proposed jetty on the foreshore at Ralphs Bay in Tasmania. (ABC News: Alexandra Alvaro) © Provided by ABC NEWS Locals are against the proposed jetty on the foreshore at Ralphs Bay in Tasmania. (ABC News: Alexandra Alvaro)

Locals are concerned a proposal by a prominent Hobart developer to build a 60-metre long concrete jetty on Crown land will destroy the natural beauty of a southern Tasmanian foreshore and set the wrong precedent for the use of public land.

Sultan Holdings has plans to build the 1.5-metre high jetty and shed on the foreshore of Ralphs Bay, at Sandford.

The proposal also includes a 3.2-metre high storage shed at the entry to the jetty.

The jetty would sit directly across from existing property further inland also owned by developer Sultan Holdings, which developed University of Tasmania student housing, Moonah Central Shopping Centre and the hotel at the Hobart International Airport.

Community concern growing

A petition with nearly 700 signatures calls for residents to voice their concerns over the plans, and a group of residents called the "Save Ralphs Bay Again Group" has also mobilised.

The group's spokesman, Peter Osborne, said the development sends the wrong message.

"It becomes possible for people to use Crown land for their own private purposes and as that happens, more and more public land is lost," Mr Osborne said.

"Crown land is for public purposes. This is a private jetty … so there will be no public access," he said.

He also said the size of the structure would take away from the area's natural beauty.

Local Robyn Moore grew up in the area and nearby Dorans Road is named after her grandmother, Mary Doran.

"I think she'd be horrified to know one individual could come in and build a private jetty on Crown land," Ms Moore said.

"It takes away from the Tassie rural lifestyle … if we say yes to something like this then it enables everybody to be able to put a private jetty if they want on Crown land," she said.

The group is also worried about the environmental impact of the development.

In the development approval, it is stated the proposed jetty "will not involve significant disturbance of the marine or terrestrial environment".

An attached assessment by an environmental consultant acknowledged the area is known for handfish sightings, but said none were found during the assessment.

"Targeted searches for seastars and handfish were conducted but did not identify any threatened protected species within the study area," it said.

"However the area does provide potentially suitable habitat for both and as such minor mitigation approaches are recommended."

It recommends construction does not happen during handfish breeding season.

Battle over Ralphs Bay not the first

More than 10 years ago a plan for a much larger canal-style development in Ralphs Bay conservation area was scrapped after community backlash.

Greens leader Cassy O'Connor led the opponents of the development.

She said the latest issue over the jetty raises similar concerns.

"If Mr Sultan wants to build a jetty, let him buy a piece of private land and put in a development approval for this on his own land rather than trying to take something away from locals," Ms O'Connor said.

City of Clarence Mayor, Doug Chipman, said Council will consider the proposal.

"I can't comment on the application at this stage whatsoever. As a member of the planning authority I need to keep my mind open on the matter until Monday night," Mr Chipman said.

Mr Sultan was contacted for comment.

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