THE new Bridgewater Bridge development will free up land which should be used to build a new commercial and recreational precinct which could be home to a ferry and bus terminal and park and ride facility. Brighton Mayor Leigh Gray said given the Government owned the land, this would significantly cut the cost of the proposal and pave the way for a ferry service from Bridgewater to Hobart
“Every day tens of thousands of people drive to work from their homes in the South Central region which includes Brighton, Derwent Valley, Southern Midlands and Central Highlands,’’ Mr Gray said.
“Almost all are travelling one person per car. “About 70 per cent of those commuters are travelling into Hobart and Glenorchy. “And the number of commuters is growing.
“This is a huge pool of users for a Bridgewater ferry connection, and eventually Old Beach too. “Adding these paying passengers would improve the viability of the entire Derwent River ferry network. “It strengthens the case for further ferry sites in Clarence, Glenorchy, Kingborough and Hobart. “On top of this, every commuter taking the ferry from Bridgewater means one less car heading into Greater Hobart.
“That would significantly cut road congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from car fumes and create more socially and economically productive commuting.’’ Mr Gray said Brighton Council was driving the vision for a Bridgewater ferry terminal. “But we are not alone. We have received strong expressions of support from MONA, Incat, UTas, Roche Brothers, RACT and others,’’ he said.
When asked about the idea of extending the ferry further to New Norfolk, Derwent Valley Mayor Michelle Dracoulis said it would provide a welcome additional travel option that would reduce the amount of traffic on the Lyell Highway. “Depending on the cost of the service, provide some financial relief considering the current high cost of petrol and parking,’’ Mrs Dracoulis said.
However, she added that concerns had been raised with her from locals that the wake from frequent marine traffic would impact the breeding grounds of the black swans and native waterfowl that the Derwent is known for. “There is also a concern that fast moving vessels have the potential to disturb toxins and pollutants currently locked up in the river sediment,’’ she said. “As lovely an idea as it is to have a permanent ferry service running from New Norfolk to Hobart, a study would need to be undertaken to determine if a service would be both economically feasible and environmentally responsible.’’
A trial Bellerive to Hobart ferry service has been operating for 11 months and has proved very popular.