Mt Wellington architect on the hunt for operator

In Attractions, Government, National Headlines, Tasmania

Photo from Hobart City Council

Bid to revive 15 year old plans to build a resort on Hobart’s Mount Wellington

From abc.net.au, 7th may 2014

A proposal to build a hotel half way up Hobart’s Mount Wellington are back on the table, after 13 year-old plans for a tourist development at the Springs fell through.

The plans for a visitor centre, restaurant and car parking at the site are now dead after the developer Ali Sultan withdrew and its deadline expired.

But the other proponent and architect behind the Sapphire Resort on the east coast is hoping to revive earlier plans for an ecotourism resort.

Robert Morris-Nunn says he is negotiating with government representatives, and on the hunt for an operator.

“As an architectural practice, we are responsible for Sapphire, Henry Jones, all the major tourism icons in the state, ” said Mr Morris-Nunn.

“We believe that we can actually put a very very worthwhile development here that is an icon for Tasmania.”

But the Springs hasn’t had a major upgrade since bushfires tore through the site in 1967.

Jason Turvey from the cable car opposition group, Respect the Mountain, says it badly needs improvements.

“It’s just high time that something happened down here at the Springs, at the very least the toilets and car parking facility need some upgrading,” said Mr Turvey.

Tentative support from cable car opponents

Mr Turvey says he would like to see the hotel plans but tentatively supports a development at the Springs, rather than the pinnacle.

“I suppose I’d ultimately like to try to keep the pinnacle either the way that it is or even better, to try to reduce the amount of clutter that is based at the top there, the Alpine environment is quite a fragile environment,” he said.

The original hotel plans did not clear heritage hurdles when they were submitted 15 years ago, but Mr Morris-Nun is not worried this time around.

“It would be of this particular environment, built out of the materials that are of this place and it would just be a unique destination,” he said.

Refurbishments have just been completed at the pinnacle, with new flooring, heated seats and public telescope and supporters hope it is not too long before the Springs has its chance for a make-over.

A spokesman for the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts says staff have met several investors who have shown interest in the Springs site.

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