Mayors back river ferry

MAYORS from the Derwent Valley and Brighton municipalities have welcomed calls for a River Derwent ferry service to be expanded to Bridgewater and New Norfolk.

As part of the Greater Hobart Transport Vision, the State Government wants to engage with local councils to determine how the current Bellerive to Hobart ferry service can be expanded.

Derwent Valley Acting Mayor Jessica Cosgrove she would welcome a ferry service to New Norfolk.

“As we are a growing community we welcome any opportunity to expand our transport options to travel to Hobart,’’ Ms Cosgrove said.
“The Lyell Highway has increasing traffic volumes both to and from Hobart, therefore providing another mode of travel would be a great option for locals.
“I also believe that a weekend service would be a wonderful way to travel for tourists and visitors to explore our amazing and award-winning town.’’

Brighton Mayor Leigh Gray said a large proportion of people from Brighton, Sorell, Southern Midlands and the Derwent Valley commuted into the metro area of Hobart for work.

“As pointed out by (Incat chairman) Bob Clifford, an expanded ferry service could have stops at Old Beach and Bridgewater or Gagebrook and could even extend to New Norfolk easily once the new Bridgewater Bridge is completed,” Mr Gray said.

He also called for a protected cycleway from Brighton into and throughout Hobart City. Clarence Alderman Brendan Blomeley, who publicly led the charge for a river service said the trial River Derwent ferry service, had been an outstanding success.

“However, if we seriously want to alleviate Hobart’s traffic congestion issues then surely we need to expand the service to both sides of the Derwent, particularly to cater for the growing municipalities of Brighton and the Derwent Valley,’’ Mr Blomeley said.
“Although it has been pleasing to see southern mayors entering this discussion and throwing their support behind an expansion to the ferry service, if local government was truly serious about an expanded ferry solution, then they need to be prepared to do more of the heavy lifting.
“Ferry wharves and associated facilities such as car parking are key community infrastructure, and as such, local government has a clear obligation to lead a mature and strategic conversation with the other two tiers of government, as well as the private sector, about a co-contribution funding model.’’

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Michael Ferguson said he had noted the supportive comments of southern mayors.

“The Government will be pleased to engage with those councils about what contribution they would make to extend a ferry service beyond the current offering, including appropriate wharf and other land-side infrastructure,’’ Mr Ferguson said.