Stewart plans $30m skyrail

ENTREPRENEUR Errol Stewart wants to build a $30 million skyrail over Launceston, which he thinks would make a profit and become one of Australia’s top tourist attractions.

Mr Stewart said yesterday he looked at the project several years ago and shelved it, but the state government’s new tourism campaign, released this week, prompted him to have another look.

Mr Stewart said his proposal offered a 12-kilometre round trip with a stop in the middle, and passengers would glide about 15 metres above the trees. He said it could start at his newly planned silo hotel, beside the North Esk River opposite the Seaport. It would head across the Tamar River and up Cataract Gorge as far as the suspension bridge.

“It would be an iconic must-do travel destination,” Mr Stewart said.  “The trip would take an hour, employ plenty of people (probably 50) but it would  be a must-do if you came to Australia.”

The cost breakdown is: 80 towers at $250,000 (total of $20 million), two  stations at $2 million (total $4 million), cable and carriage cost totalling $5 million, $1 million in other costs, for a project cost of $30 million.

Infrastructure Minister David O’Byrne said the government was  focused on diversifying Tasmania’s economy, “by playing to our state’s natural economic strengths”.

“That’s why we support business through funding programs like the Tasmanian Innovation and Investment Fund,” Mr O’Byrne said.

The Examiner 25 March 2013