A development application for the much-anticipated University of Tasmania Inveresk campus is not expected until June but Northern Tasmanians may get their first look before then.
The $260 million campus, is part of the university's Northern Transformation plan, which encompasses new methods of course delivery alongside two state-of-the-art new campuses at Burnie and in Launceston.
Pro-vice chancellor David Adams said the university had been "working hard to get the evidence" for its transformation project, but unforeseen challenges had meant a delay to the existing timelines.
One of those challenges is a large number of existing infrastructure projects in the pipeline for the state.
The state government pledged $2.6 billion for infrastructure projects in the next six years across forward estimates in the 2018 budget and Launceston is also home to some significant private investment.
"One of our major promises was to be able to maximise the economic benefits from this project for Tasmanian businesses," Professor Adams said.
However, he said if UTAS stayed within its existing deadlines and began construction on schedule at the end of the year there would not be enough construction workers and sub-contractors to fulfill that commitment.
He said the project would have to rely on mainland businesses and labour, which was not what UTAS wanted to see happen.
Because of that challenge, and others, Professor Adams said UTAS was now looking at a staged roll-out of construction.
"We committed to beginning construction at the end of this year and we will meet that commitment," he said.
The precinct has been divided into seven zones, which will be developed in a staged construction, with the first to be Willis Street, the pedestrian bridge over the Tamar and a student building as the first stage.
Professor Adams said the DA was expected by June, subject to planning approval.
Another hurdle facing the development is the planning scheme, because the precinct is on different land parcels, each with their own unique challenges.
"Each of the sites has issues related to parking, or flood mitigation, things like that," Professor Adams said.
So, UTAS is working with the City of Launceston to agree to an amendment to the planning scheme that will need to be lodged with the Tasmanian Planning Commission.
This will allow the DA to be submitted in one application, rather than several. However, any amendment to the planning scheme can also be appealed, which could delay the process further.
Professor Adams said UTAS had been working hard since 2016 to make sure the Northern Transformation plan was a success.
He said he understood community sentiment that the project had stalled and hoped to alleviate some of those concerns.
"We will be hoping to begin more community engagement in the coming weeks," he said.
It's believed a revised master plan, which will detail some of the preliminary plans and designs, will be made available soon but a deadline on that could not yet be set.
After the revised master plan is released, community consultation will begin with Northern Tasmanians having a chance to engage with the process.
Professor Adams said UTAS was focused on ensuring the campus met the needs of the community and industry.
"We want to make sure that this is a community space, that the university sits on, not a university campus that the community visits sometimes," he said.
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