Building heights is a conversation we knew Launceston would be having this year.
Following the heated debate in Hobart over the Fragrance Hotel, and the same company purchasing Launceston’s Clarion, height limits was bound to become an issue in 2018.
The Singaporean company in 2017 announced plans for a 179-metre high hotel in Hobart’s Davey Street and an 84-metre hotel in Collins Street.
The company also has future plans for a 25-storey hotel development in Launceston – on the Clarion site.
The current limit in the city is 14.5 metres and 12 metres for the street frontage.
We know that Launceston needs more accommodation.
Last year we had an event move to Hobart because the accommodation couldn’t cope with two big events at the same time.
If you know someone with a second property chances are they now use it as an Airbnb instead of a traditional rental property.
When you chat to tourists they comment on the beauty of Launceston.
The heritage buildings and facades create a special feeling in our central business district.
However, every building isn’t heritage in design.
There are some ugly buildings and some modern additions.
As a city, we should all be able to agree that we need more accommodation options.
Now the question is: how high are we willing to go.
The re-location of the University of Tasmania to Inveresk sends the signal that as a city we don’t want to expand horizontally.
So the only other option is to go up.
The disadvantages of having taller buildings is the possibility of shadows casting over our city and the affect one or two taller buildings may have on our vista.
It’s a conversation we must have. So let’s make it robust, let’s look to the future and to the past, and let’s do it with respect and an open mind.