New anti-highrise group in Launceston to support restaurant owner’s fight against $50 million Gorge Hotel

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Heritage Not high-rise co-ordinator Jim Collier and Golden Brumby restaurant owner Susie Cai, who will appeal against the proposed hotel. Picture: CHRISTOPHER TESTA

A NEW anti-highrise group will back a small-business owner in her fight against a $50 million hotel development.

Heritage Not Highrise – inspired by the Hobart Not Highrise group – has formed in Launceston.

Susie Cai, whose home and restaurant would be overshadowed by the proposed 39 metre Gorge Hotel on the outskirts of the Launceston CBD on Tuesday announced she would lodge an appeal against its approval at the state’s planning tribunal.

Jim Collier, co-ordinator of Heritage Not Highrise, said the group had its first meeting a fortnight ago and expected to grow beyond its 50 registered supporters.

‘The group has been formed for exactly the same reason that the Hobart Not Highrise group was formed in Hobart,” he said.

“It’s obviously apparent throughout the state that there’s going to be a proliferation of highrise buildings throughout Tasmania if we’re not careful.”

Mr Collier said the group was “not trying to stop hotel development in Launceston” and that opponents of the Gorge Hotel would welcome mediation.

“Launceston is not Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Singapore or even London — Launceston is unique,” he said.

An artist’s impression of the proposed Gorge Hotel. Picture: CBG Architects

Ms Cai said she decided to proceed with the appeal against the nine-storey hotel, being developed by Josef Chromy’s JAC Group on the corner of Margaret and Paterson streets, because she “didn’t want to just sit back and be trod on”.

Only one Launceston councillor opposed the development application when it was voted on last month.

“A full appeal process can delay [construction] by anything up to five or six months,” JAC Group managing director Dean Cocker said at the time.

Proponents say the hotel would create 200 direct and indirect jobs.

Ms Cai has lodged several grounds of appeal at RMPAT, arguing the council did not correctly advertise the application, and that it did not adequately consider the effect on birds, noise, parking requirements, existing road access, land stability or the effect it would have on sunlight at her property, on the corner of the block.

“One of the aldermen said to me, if we want sunshine, we should go for a walk to the park, which is a bit unfair if that’s my living space,” she said.

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