AT FIRST GLANCE, four years ago, Elwick Bay foreshore in the northern suburbs of Hobart was a barren, reclaimed and disjointed waterfront reserve. The shallow mudflats were considered so contaminated and smelly that dumping a few shopping trolleys and truck tyres didn’t raise an eyebrow. At night the adjacent car park would rev up with ‘drifters’ doing burn outs, such a hassle to police and local residents that a gate was installed to limit vehicle access to the public amenity.
Looking again, however, it was an area with a devoted local user group: sailors and rowers, dog walkers and Sunday barbecuers. Their activities mainly confined to the western edge close to the Montrose Bay High School and a stone’s throw from where David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art now sits. The bay was also one of the last obvious undeveloped north-facing waterfronts in the greater Hobart area. To those who were listening, and looking for opportunity, Walsh’s $50 million plus construction project transforming the Moorilla Estate across the bay caused more like a surf break than a ripple effect. A real chance to catch the wave, but timing, positioning and an understanding of the local conditions were essential.
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