Implementation of the extended Launceston City Deal, the University of Tasmania relocation to Inveresk and stage two of the Launceston City Heart Project are among the main economic priorities for the City of Launceston Council in 2020.
Mayor Albert van Zetten said the key priority for the council was the implementation of the Launceston City Deal, which was extended out from five years to 10 following the recent federal election.
"With that now in place, we're looking at new and exciting ways we can leverage off this deal and identify new strategies and projects we can submit for possible funding," he said.
Other economic development perspective, our key focus areas will be:
- Facilitating the University of Tasmania relocation
- Progressing stage two of the Launceston City Heart Project
- The implementation of the Buildings Heights and Massing Study
Residential growth strategies:
- Invermay Traffic Masterplan outcomes (including the traffic signal upgrade)
- Implementation of the City of Launceston's Cultural Strategy
- Inner City Living
- Smart Cities strategy
- Progressing the Greater Launceston Transport Vision (including the Eastern Bypass feasibility study).
"We're also co-signatories of the River Health Action Plan and with some $94 million of investment in our river over the next few years, that will also be a major priority moving forward," Councillor van Zetten said.
He said undoubtedly the biggest factor in economic growth was the relocation of the University of Tasmania campus from Newnham to Inveresk.
"Bringing the campus into the CBD will be a game-changer for the city. It truly is a once-in-a-generation project that will deliver not only economic growth for the region, particularly during the construction stages, but niche research capabilities as well as give a true impetus to developers as they deliver what we expect will be a market-driven need for more CBD living options."
Both the City Heart project and building heights amendments to the planning scheme will unlock development potential within the city and the progression of the residential growth strategy will also facilitate significant residential and commercial development within the city. Councillor van Zetten said tourism was a traditional industry that was in good shape for 2020 as were agriculture and forestry, but the council expected growth in the aged care and social services sector due to demographic change as well as the creative industries sector.
"With the impending release of the council's cultural strategy, we will undoubtedly see more creative arts and cultural growth across the city, which will in turn help drive investment in other areas such as tourism.
"There's also a significant, relatively untapped potential in the conferencing sector in Launceston, which in turn will also drive an increase in tourism and visitation to the North. That's a market that currently is dominated by Hobart, but as the potential for more facilities and infrastructure comes online, we definitely believe we can see significant growth in this area."
The implementation of both the Northern Tasmania Development Corporation's Regional Economic Development Strategy and the Northern Tasmanian Population Taskforce Strategy were also exciting projects for 2020. Councillor van Zetten said planning continued to grow in the city, which meant jobs, investment and prosperity for residents.
"In 2019, the council approved 646 planning applications, worth $211.2 million, compared with $209.6m the previous year, and we're confident this sustained level of investment will continue to grow in 2020 and beyond.
"There's a great of interest from a number of developers - some of them significant - to invest in Launceston."
Looking back over the previous decade, Councillor van Zetten said the council had had some genuine wins and major achievements that can be easy to overlook.
He cited the Greater Launceston Plan, first stage of the City Heart, redevelopment of Civic, the Launceston City Deal, the Northern Suburbs plan and the River Health Action Plan. "Both of those projects have seen significant government (both state and federal) investment flow into Launceston. While the outcomes of those are quite different, they will both have generational, positive impacts." By the end of the decade, the council expects to see an extra 10,000 people living in Launceston. "I am seeing a growth in population that rivals other regional cities," Councillor van Zetten said.
"That in itself brings with it a number of challenges for the City of Launceston in terms of housing and available land for development. It's an area we have been spending considerable time and resources over the past year or more. If we are going to bring an additional 10,000 people to live and work in Launceston, there needs to be new and exciting options available."
- 2020 Vision is a partnership between Northern Tasmania Development Corporation and its member councils to highlight their economic development plans for the year ahead.