The final stages of the University of Tasmania's move to Inveresk have been given the green light, with Launceston's first Indigenous welcoming space on the agenda.
The City of Launceston council approved all three of UTAS' development applications at its latest meeting. The first was what has been dubbed as the "urban realm" for green spaces between campus buildings, the second was for student accommodation and the third was for internal works on the Stone Building.
Representations were made against all three DAs and raised concerns on building on a flood zone, lack of public support for the relocation, disturbing the site's heritage, the removal of trees and the inability of the combined stormwater and sewerage system to cope.
Under the urban realm project, half of the Inveresk circular car park will become a community food garden, next to Station Cottage will be the Esk Active Space, adding bouldering areas, a running track, multiple sports courts, a fitness area and outdoor ping pong tables, and a welcoming space across from the Blue Cafe.
Greater Launceston Creative Cities Steering Group chairperson Andrew Pitt said although the buildings had captured the public's attention, it was the spaces between the buildings which would be the primary interface between the community and the precinct.
"It's important therefore that those spaces create a vibe if you like that builds connection between the region, the city, the educational opportunities on offer and the careers that will follow.
"Food as a central theme of the urban realm provides this connection. It will help address issues of food security and also speaks to our aspirations around sustainability and the circular economy.
"The other important aspect I'd like to touch on is the Aboriginal welcome site. It's truly remarkable to this day there is no civic space in Launceston that I am aware of dedicated to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
"The university is to be commended for its commitment to reconciliation and Tasmanian Aboriginal cultural identity."
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Pulingina Milaythina (or welcome space) is a feature geared towards sharing Indigenous culture, alongside the way-finding Guardian Stones throughout the campus, which were developed with consultation from the Aboriginal community to welcome and identify the entry to the precinct.
The cultural events space will include separate men's and women's spaces, circles to be present in the gathering space design and a fire-pit for ceremonial burns.
The community garden in front of the QVMAG will also produce seasonal vegetables and Indigenous native foods as well.
The second DA for the student accommodation, across from the university square and the existing School of Architecture and Design, will accommodate 144 students.
Councillor Alan Harris addressed concerns raised about the loss of half of the Inveresk car park and 31 trees for the urban realm project. He said although 31 trees would be taken out, 259 trees would be added, with car parks also added in UTAS' new car park off Forster Street.
"Whilst we would all love to see the older trees kept, I do think that it is worthwhile that new trees will be planted in a new space that will be fit for purpose," he said.
"That fit for purpose will be for the university students and for the general public to actually enjoy this space and I look forward to the day it becomes open."
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