The Wellington Park Management Trust is reviewing the Wellington Park Management Plan. The review has been broken into 3 stages as above. Consultation on Park Values has now commenced.
Future rounds of consultation will focus on Park Zones and Specific Areas, including allowable uses and standards for use and development. In addition to consultation at each stage of development, the revised Draft Wellington Park Management Plan will also be issued for statutory public consultation.
Before we set out to protect the values of Wellington Park in the revised Management Plan, we need to build consensus on what the Wellington Park Values are.
We talk a lot about protecting the values of Wellington Park, but what exactly are those values?
In its simplest form, a value is an opinion on what is important. Everybody has their own opinion, and therefore values will differ.
Defining our Wellington Park Values Statements is where we begin our review of the Management Plan.
How will Values Statements be used?
The Wellington Park Management Trust will use the Wellington Park Values to produce guidelines for assessing use and development in Wellington Park.
The Values Statements are to reflect the values that the Wellington Park community will expect statutory planning authorities to consider when assessing development applications against the Management Plan's Standards for Use and Development. The Wellington Park community comprises anyone that shares a common interest in the use, protection and preservation of Wellington Park.
The Standards for Use and Development are made up of an ‘Objective’, an ‘Acceptable Solution’ and ‘Performance Criteria’. This is the same framework as the Tasmanian Planning Scheme.
The Objective is the standard that must be met. The Acceptable Solution and the Performance Criteria are two different ways that the Objective can be met.
The Acceptable Solution is very specific, clear and measurable. If a proponent meets the Acceptable Solution, by default they meet the Objective. If a proponent doesn’t meet the Acceptable Solution, they can instead satisfy the Performance Criteria to meet the Objective.
The Performance Criteria are not as clear-cut as the Acceptable Solution. The Performance Criteria are more qualitative, and indicate the range of matters that the planning authority must consider in making a discretionary decision. This is where the Wellington Park Values come in.
If a Performance Criteria requires that ‘adverse impacts on natural and cultural values be avoided’, and this is currently the case in the 2013 Management Plan, having a clear understanding of what the natural and cultural Wellington Park Values are is essential. In this example, the Park Values Statements provide an expanded definition of ‘natural values’ and ‘cultural values’. In doing so, the Values Statements promote awareness by the planning authority of the ‘range of matters that are to be considered when making a discretionary decision’ as outlined in the Tasmanian Planning Commission’s Practice Note 8.
Where do the draft Values Statements come from?
For the Trust, the starting point is the law – the Wellington Park Act 1993. The law says that Wellington Park is set aside as a reserve to:
This points to the values that the Trust must recognise – recreation and tourism uses, flora and fauna, natural beauty and scenic interest, drinking water supply, and features of historical, Aboriginal, archaeological, scientific, architectural and geomorphological interest.
In the 2013 Wellington Park Management Plan, these values were clustered into three groups.
For each cluster, a set of Statements of Significance were determined, which justified those values. The Statements of Significance contained a mix of values statements and specific features of significance.
In the next Management Plan, it is proposed to separate these, and instead prepare a set of Values Statements, and a Register of Features of Interest. Using the word ‘interest’ instead of ‘significance’ maintains consistency with the Wellington Park Act 1993.
The Register of Features of Interest will sit outside the Management Plan, much like the Trust’s Heritage Database. Like the Heritage Database, the Register will need to be checked when assessing use and development in Wellington Park. It is worth noting that features already recognised via instruments like threatened species legislation, the Tasmanian Geoconservation Database, the Wellington Park Heritage Database etc will automatically be included on the Register of Features of Interest.
The Trust will work with a Guiding Council of Senior Knowledge Keepers and youth to facilitate Palawa involvement in the review of the Management Plan.
The Trust is aware of evolution in the consideration of Aboriginal heritage. This has previously been addressed under the general umbrella of ‘cultural values’, grouping Aboriginal heritage with post-invasion European heritage, and focusing on tangible things like artefacts and sites.
We now recognise that the term ‘Aboriginal heritage’ does not reflect the ongoing relationship between Palawa and their country, and does not properly recognise the intangible qualities of that relationship, including stories, the interpretation of seasonal patterns and the significance of places imbued with the spirit of Palawa ancestors.
For these reasons, the Trust has resolved to add a new, stand-alone Park value – Aboriginal Values – and is working with Palawa Knowledge Keepers to properly define and provide for protection of these values.
Draft Values Statements
The draft Values Statements are not new, and instead build on work done in the past. They are updated versions of statements found in the 2013 Management Plan, realigned to the Wellington Park Act 1993, and using information in newer documents like the Wellington Park Visitor and Recreation Strategy 2023.
The draft Values Statements are provided as a starting point for consultation, with the aim to build consensus within the Wellington Park community of users, visitors and land managers.