Fern Tree Park Upgrade
Fern Tree Park is a key gateway for visitors wishing to explore Hobart’s famous mountain, kunanyi/Mt Wellington.
It’s the departure point for a walk or bike ride along the heritage-listed Pipeline Track, and often the first point of contact for visitors to Wellington Park, the 18 250 hectare nature reserve that forms such a beautiful backdrop to Hobart.
The City of Hobart is redeveloping the park as a truly modern gateway to Wellington Park for all visitors to enjoy.
About the upgrade
Under the Fern Tree Park Visitor Node Master Plan, which has been developed with the Wellington Park Management Trust and in consultation with the community, new facilities will be built, including a nature-based playground, toilets, picnic and bus shelter, upgrading of the Fern Glade Car Park and Fern Glade Track entrance, new Huon Road footpath and roadworks to improve access and safety.
The development of the Master Plan which commenced in 2014, was prolonged with extensive investigations undertaken due to the significant site constraints and values. Regular engagement was had with the community in the early stages of the plans development.
The most challenging decision was finding a suitable location for a new toilet. The current toilets in the park are the worst in City’s network for amenity and access, and their replacement is essential. It was ultimately determined that a new combined toilet and bus shelter be located on the site of the old stone bus shelter on Huon Road next to the Park and Pipeline Track entrance.
Petition and Council resolution
In February this year, a petition was submitted to Council signed by seventy-four Fern Tree residents opposing the removal of the bus shelter located next to the park and its replacement with a new combined bus shelter and toilet facility.
The petition was accompanied by a letter requesting consideration of two other sites for locating the toilet:
- in the park near St Raphael’s Church;
- 70 metres along the Pipeline Track opposite the double storied barbecue
On 4 March 2019, Council considered the petition and the preliminary assessment of the alternative toilet sites. The park location was eliminated due to heritage issues. Assessment of the pipeline track location indicated significant construction challenges due to its proximity to the water pipeline, requiring clearing of forest, which would impact two large trees and cost considerably more.
The Council resolved that:
The implementation of Fern Tree Park Master Plan proceed as planned with the General Manger to be delegated authority to negotiate any minor contractual amendments as required Subject to Clause 1:
(a) Investigations be undertaken to have stone applied as the exterior cladding of new toilet facilities.
(b) An interpretation panel be designed and installed on the exterior of the new toilet which recognises the history of the Fern Tree Park and construction of the bus shelter by the local community following the 1967 bushfires.
(c) The Fern Tree Community be consulted in relation to the proposed exterior cladding and interpretation panels.
The petitioner and signatories to the petition and Fern Tree residents be notified of the Council’s decision.
In accordance with that resolution, construction of Stage 1 of the Fern Tree Park Upgrade with the park based facilities commenced on 18 March.
Amendments were made to the design of the new combined bus shelter and toilet facilities to provide for rock cladding on the two exterior side walls responding to petitioners and Fern Tree Community Association requests for the integration of rock into the new building.
All Fern Tree households were invited to participate in a survey seeking community comment on amendments to the design of the new bus and toilet building which closed on 3 April 2019.
The survey results indicated that there is majority support for the combined rock and timber cladding on the new bus and toilet to service Fern Tree Park with 90% of respondents supporting the rock cladding.
As the results reflect strong support for the rock cladding, demolition of the old bus shelter and construction of the new combined facility will commence on 29 April.
On 8 March 2019, Mr Andrew Wilkie, Federal Member for Clark, announced an $800,000 grant that will assist the City in building the Fern Tree Park project in its entirety.
With this additional funding, Stage 2 will commence in October 2019, with the construction of the roadworks, improved road crossing, Huon Road footpaths and new Fern Glade car park and upgraded access to the Fern Glade walking track.
Fern Tree Park closure
The park will be closed from mid-March 2019 to allow for the upgrade and will reopen in spring 2019.
Toilet facilities will still be available at the site, however, via a temporary toilet located at the entrance to the Pipeline Track.
Available parking for the public will be reduced in the Fern Glade Car Park and Stephenson Place, which will be partially used as a construction depot.
Track closures in Wellington Park and the Pipeline Track
The following tracks will be impacted by the works:
- Pillinger Drive Track – the lower section will be closed with no access to Fern Tree Park
- Middle Track – the lower section will be closed with no access below the reservoir
- Pipeline Track – the works occurring around the track may result in short delays
The development application for the project was approved in October 2018. View the Fern Tree Park Implementation plans.
The 2017 council covering report, results of community engagement and Fern Tree Park Visitor Node Master Plan, can be found in the Parks and Recreation Committee Agenda on 11 May 2017.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the park have to be closed?
The works being conducted are significant and it would not be safe to keep the area open to the public during the upgrade.
How long will the park be closed?
The park will be closed until Stage 1 of the works are completed, in spring 2019.
Why are the trees being removed?
Three reports were prepared by an arborist, who advised that there is considerable decay in the trees. Their retention would be potentially dangerous to the public if they were to remain on site. A small poorly pruned myrtle and decaying wattle, located on the roadside next to the new shelter, are also to be removed.
Will there still be toilet facilities available when the park is closed?
Yes. A temporary toilet will be made available at the entrance to the Pipeline Track.
Will a temporary bus stop and shelter be provided whilst construction of the new bus stop shelter is underway?
Yes. A temporary shelter will be installed just south of the current Fern Tree Park city bound bus stop.
Will any historically significant structures be removed or damaged to allow for this upgrade?
No. While the stone structures housing the picnic facilities and toilets shelter, the bus shelter and work shed all built in the 1970’s will need to be removed, they are not considered to be architecturally or historically significant and their loss doesn’t impinge upon the heritage values of the site.
Fern Tree Park, Ferntree 7054 View Map