Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Member for Franklin
Huon Valley Council’s decision to require Dark Lab’s Transformer project, south of Dover, to reposition the café and protect the unarguable heritage values of the Ida Bay Railway, is a win for the community and the future of southern Tasmanian tourism.
Huon Valley Council voted against the Dark Lab development application in its current form, triggering a pathway for Dark Lab to renegotiate an alternative site during a Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal process.
Councillor Gibson moved an alternative motion to protect the railway and require Dark Lab to mediate an alternative position for the café, supported by councillors Campbell, Prince, O’May and Clarke. Mayor Enders, Deputy Mayor Doyle, and councillors Newell and Bird voted against that alternative motion.
The Ida Bay Railway Preservation Society has worked hard for years to create a functioning future viability model. Dark Lab’s proposed cafe site would have destroyed the operational use of the railway and sheds, and ended the prospect of this genuinely unique and much-loved historic railway continuing to delight tourists of all ages.
As Dark Lab has publicly stated its genuine commitment to working for the mutual benefit of both parties, the HVC made the right decision in finding a planning work-around that can allow a respectful development solution that suits both parties.
The Far South tourism operators are looking forward with anticipation at the forthcoming Transformer Project. Fortunately, now the Far South won’t need to lose another key pillar tourism attraction – the Ida Bay Railway – to do so.