New town development proposed adjacent to Evandale

ZONING: The land bought is about double the size of Evandale. The Northern Midlands Council will consider rezoning the area in July.
ZONING: The land bought is about double the size of Evandale. The Northern Midlands Council will consider rezoning the area in July.

A plan is in motion to build a new town just a few kilometres east of Evandale. 

Spanning from Logan Road to White Hills, the 242-hectare plot of land would make for a settlement that is twice the size of Evandale. 

Sydney-based Traders in Purple bought two adjoining lots to make up the area and will place an application with the Northern Midlands Council to rezone the land in July.

Traders in Purple chief executive Brett Robinson said the company would like to see the land used to create a “mixed-use development”.

Mr Robinson said potential features included residential real estate properties, short-term rental accommodation, botanical gardens, an aged-care facility and an artisan village. 

The proposed name for the town is Ridgeside.

However, not everyone is happy about the proposal. 

Barry Lawson is one of 12 Evandale residents who have organised a public meeting to discuss the proposal next Monday.

“The whole uniqueness of the town is under threat,” he said.

“We’re just worried that the size and scope of the project would ruin the ambience and heritage value of the town.”

Northern Midlands mayor David Downie said he welcomed any development that increased housing availability and spurred growth in Northern Tasmania.

“This is the sort of investment that Northern Tasmania needs to grow,” he said.

“One of the hottest issues right now is the lack of housing and we want more residential developments.

“We need to promote residential development, as long as it is done appropriately.”

Mr Robinson said Traders in Purple was working hard to allay any public concern about the potential development through extended community consultation. 

We don’t want to build a theme park.

Traders in Purple chief executive Brett Robinson

The developer has already held meetings with the Northern Midlands Council, Evandale Advisory Committee and Tourism Northern Tasmania. 

A number of community, business and sporting groups will also be consulted over the next few weeks to gain insight into what Evandale residents would want to see in any development.

“We don’t want to build a theme park,” he said.

“It’s not just going to be a housing estate with 3000 homes – that’s the last thing anyone wants.

“Instead of a sprawling suburb on the outskirts of a town, there’s an opportunity to create something quite unique if that’s something the community wants.

“We can actually plan it all out, because it’s such a big site...and you wouldn’t see anything over one-storey in height.”

Mr Robinson said sustainability would be one of the “overarching themes” of the project.

“If there were rural lots there, we could mandate they all have to have solar,” he said. 

“These days you can also have batteries in your home or we might have a communal battery. 

HERITAGE: Some are concerned that the town's ambience will be ruined by the development. Picture: Neil Richardson

HERITAGE: Some are concerned that the town's ambience will be ruined by the development. Picture: Neil Richardson

“It’s a relatively flat area, so the idea of reusing the storm water, which could go into lakes and concentration ponds, has also been floated.”

Cr Downie said there were many facets of the project that would need to be arranged over a long period of time. 

“There’s a lot of other things that would need to be sorted out, like infrastructure, roads, water and sewerage. 

“They’re willing to get involved in that.”

If the council approves the rezoning application it would be forwarded on to the Tasmanian Planning Commission for approval.

The process would then see Traders in Purple draw up development applications for the site. 

Mr Robinson said the entire process could take 10 to 15 years. 

He was unsure how much of the land will be developed.