DEVONPORT City Council last week unanimously endorsed the master plan for the $250 million LIVING CITY project, which aims to transform the city through the creation of new retail, business/service and waterfront precincts.
The councillors voted in support of the master plan on the condition that there is further investigation into incorporating the Devonport Regional Gallery into the cultural waterfront precinct, after strong support for the move was received during the community consultation period.
"There was a lot of support from the community to move the art gallery, which has simply outgrown the historic Baptist Church premises," Devonport Mayor Steve Martin said.
"It was hard to ignore that feedback. It also fits with the theme of the waterfront, which is centred on art and culture, complements the Art Boardwalk being proposed and allows us to not only attract national and international exhibitions, but also better display our own story. This will be an additional drawcard for visitors."
The council had previously discussed relocating the gallery to the waterfront following a 2009 council-commissioned report identifying shortcomings with the current historic Baptist church premises, but no formal decision had been made.
According to the council, there was strong community support for the master plan, including:
- The establishment of a high quality waterfront hotel as a drawcard;
- Its ability to grow the economy, create jobs and increase population within Devonport and the wider region;
- The incorporation of art and culture, including the placement of the gallery;
- Desire to see the bridge walkway used as an attraction point;
- Promotion of fine Tasmanian produce; and
- Restoration of Rooke Street properties to preserve history.
"Adoption of the Master Plan is a significant milestone in not only the LIVING CITY journey, but in the history of the City. It is an ambitious but realistic blueprint to create a transformed City that will revive the region," Cr Martin said.
The endorsement of the master plan completes phase three of LIVING CITY and allows the implementation phase to commence. Subject to approvals and funding being resolved, onsite construction could start as soon as 2016.
"Council will now look to continue talks with major developers so we can finally put a shovel into the ground early 2016," Cr Martin said.
Image: Cover of 'Devonport LIVING CITY Master Plan' / Devonport City Council.