University to help fund flood levee

The University of Tasmania has agreed to help fund the Launceston Flood Levee Scheme as part of its $18 million housing project push. 

The university is set to provide $500,000 for the concrete levee near the Inveresk train yards, expected to cost about $10 million.

The concrete levee was chosen over an earthen one, in part to allow room for the university's 120-unit student housing project. 

At Monday's special Launceston City Council meeting aldermen will vote on the housing project, which includes handing over several council-owned Inveresk buildings to the university at no cost. 

The university leases the buildings from the council for a peppercorn rate.

Yesterday the council said the university wanted the freehold  because building the housing at Inveresk was about $6 million more expensive than anywhere else.

This differed from an early explanation that the university was converting all its property interests to freehold as part of a statewide strategy. 

In return for the freehold  the council has set the following conditions: 

 The transferred land has to be used for education. 

 If the university later sells or leases the land it will have to compensate the council. 

 The land is to be returned to council if the  housing hasn't ``substantially commenced'' by June 2016. 

 The university contribute $500,000 to the levee system.  

The university had also wanted the Power House building, which houses Blue Cafe, to be part of the freehold swap but aldermen refused.

The university wants council to approve of the conditions by January or it will look elsewhere for a site. 

The Tasmanian Ratepayers Association has requested the value of the properties being transferred but has not yet  received the information.