University of Tasmania Northern Expansion Master Plan

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Overview

The University released its Master Plan on Tuesday, July 18.

Melbourne-based consultancy firm CoDesign was engaged by the University to undertake a lengthy and wide-ranging community consultation.

CoDesign's charter was to explore how the Inveresk Precinct can become a well-used and valued part of the city, as it undergoes redevelopment, focusing on key elements of the precinct that are most relevant and of most benefit to the community.

Starting in August, a range of engagement activities are planned to tap into the community's imagination about possible uses for new public spaces, explore how the city and campus can work together for the benefit of both and test improvements to access to and round the precinct.

This consultation period aims to complement work led by the University on the broader Master Plan and campus development, understand community use and connectivity.

 

Initial Consultation and Land

The University undertook a public consultation process on the proposal, and held a public meeting at the Albert Hall in October 2015.

Aldermen also extensively liaised with the community, UTAS and other Memorandum of Understanding signatories in order to identify the best outcome for the city.

In November 2015, Aldermen voted unanimously on in-principle support to transfer two parcels of land to allow this proposal to be ex  plored further; one at Inveresk and one at Willis Street.

The Inveresk land parcel was independently valued at $1.9 million, while the Willis Street car park parcel was valued at $2.6 million.

Benefits

The proposal will lead to a $300 million capital investment on the doorstep of Launceston's CBD. Modelling from the University indicates that by 2025, the economic impact of relocating to Inveresk could be $290 million a year.

The expansion would create a new student population who will live work and shop in Launceston.

There is no doubt the investment by the City of Launceston is significant, and there are some important pre-conditions around this transfer.

If you would like to read the pre-conditions, you can view them in the minutes from the 9 November 2015 Council meeting.

Our strategy seeks to encourage greater participation in post-secondary education by Northern Tasmanians, to attract a greater number of international students through the provision of internationally acclaimed courses and gaining a greater proportion of national students travelling to Launceston to participate in flagship programs.

Coupled with the Council's Launceston City Heart Project, the UTAS Northern Expansion project presents an intergenerational opportunity to redefine the future of the city and region, as well as increasing participation rates in post-secondary education to ensure the productive capacity of our workforce.

In addition, an expanded campus at Inveresk and Willis Street will create a new demand model in the CBD that will encourage private sector investment in Launceston.

In this context, the investment of $4.5 million in land from the Council to consolidate an expanded UTAS Inner City Campus near the CBD meets international best practice standards and is a responsible investment which demonstrates economic and social benefits that the Council believes are indisputable.

We detail more on our position, plus bust some myths around the proposal, here.

Support

The Northern Expansion proposal has been supported by the Property Council of Tasmania, which has noted:

"The reality is that the UTAS campus at Newnham is losing five per cent in student numbers per year, which when coupled with the fact that the site will be far more expensive to retrofit, encapsulates the immediate challenges that we face as a community."

The Property Council has also described the proposal as, "a once in a lifetime educational and economic opportunity which should be grasped with both hands."

The Northern expansion proposal has also been supported by the Launceston Chamber of Commerce, with the organisation saying: "The chamber is of the view that it will revitalise the CBD, and add more of a youthful culture and diversity within the city."

Funding

The State and Federal governments pledged financial support to the proposal.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promised $150 million while Tasmanian Treasurer Peter Gutwein committed $75 million to the proposal. 

Public Consultation

While the University is underway with its plans for a new campus, the area will be more than a university campus, with new public spaces and things to do as well as improved ways to get to and around the precinct. The precinct will also continue to be an important destination for a range of existing uses, from going to the University of Tasmania Stadium to watch an AFL game to visiting QVMAG or the Tramway Museum.

The City of Launceston and the University have come together to explore how the precinct can become a well-used and valued part of the city, focusing on key elements of the precinct that are most relevant and of benefit to the community.

A joint project is underway to explore new experiences in the precinct for the community as well as efficient connections to get there.  A range of engagement activities are planned by Melbourne consultancy group CoDesign to tap into the community’s imagination about possible uses for new public spaces, explore how the city and campus can be work together for the benefit of both and test improvements to access to and around the precinc

Engagement activities

A range of engagement activities are planned for August, kicking off on August 12 at the University of Tasmania’s Open Day in the heart of the Inveresk precinct.

Information about all the ways to have a say will be available through both the UTAS and City of Launceston’s websites by the end of the month.

Where to from here

The University of Tasmania released its Master Plan for its Inner City Campus on Tuesday, 18 July 2017. The Council is now awaiting a formal planning application from the University.