Push for North to cash in on MONA

A CALL for a tourist attraction in the North that would bring together the state government and the three councils along the Tamar River to boost visitor numbers on the back of the success of the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart has received a mixed response.

Businesses in the Tamar area want an all-year attraction that would not rival MONA in Hobart but draw more of the 280,000 crowd going through the museum to the North.

Two of the three mayors in the Tamar region - George Town Council's Roger Broomhall and Launceston City Council's Albert van Zetten - were open to discussions on the issue and working collaboratively.

However, Alderman van Zetten said before any such discussions could take place, a very wealthy investor would have to be found.

He said neither the council, nor the state government, had the capital to invest in such a venture and then an ongoing interstate and international marketing campaign, to the extent of those behind MONA.

Alderman van Zetten said the North would also ultimately need a larger population to sustain such an attraction.

However, West Tamar Council Mayor Barry Easther took a different take on the situation and said the North could not replicate MONA.

He also questioned if local government should be involved in such a venture.

"Let's focus on what we do best and what we've got, and tourist operators with attractions here, let's improve them," Cr Easther said.

He said the council-owned and operated Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre saw about 40,000 tourists a year, so was very successful.

He said plans were being discussed about how this could be updated for future patronage.

Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said any major investment would require private investment, as MONA did.

He said it was great to see the development of projects by local entrepreneurs Joseph Chromy with Penny Royal and Errol Stewart on the North Bank with The Silos get started.

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