Image for Cable car company to be sold to Canadian investor

The proponent of the Mt Wellington cable car, Adrian Bold, has entered into an agreement to sell a majority of a proposed new company to build and operate the project to the Canadian company, Bullwheel International Cable Car Corporation.

Bold told Tasmanian Times that in October 2013 he entered into an agreement with Bullwheel International Cable Car Corporation (Bullwheel IC3) owner, Steven Dale, but declined to disclose what stake he would retain in the project. “I’m not giving that information out,” he said. “We are giving out far more information about the project in the interests of accountability and transparency than we have to. The agreement is commercially confidential and I can’t say more.”

The timing of the formation of the new company is yet to be determined but, prior to last night’s Hobart City Council meeting, Bold stated that it hinged on winning in principle support for the project from the council without first having to complete a development application.

Previously, the role of Bullwheel has been reported only as financing the cable car project. The Mt Wellington Cable Car Company website states that Bullwheel would have “the responsibility to fund the construction cost of the Hobart venture” but does not mention that it would also have a majority stake in the operating company.

While the MWCC website states that Bullwheel has “has attracted investment of over 300% of the required funds” any funding it has raised has not yet been invested in the project.

Bold told TT that his own personal consultancy company, Riser & Gain, had taken on all the financial risk of the project to date but that he couldn’t take it any further alone. However, he said, Bullwheel’s investment was contingent on the project first winning landowner consent from the council.

Australian Securities and Investment Commission records reveal that Bold is the sole shareholder of Riser & Gain, which has a nominal capital value of $100. Bold’s company has been through various iterations. While living in Victoria, in March 2007 Bold founded Boom Creative, a company which specialised in property marketing for small to medium property projects in Victoria and several other states. The company name was changed to Riser & Gain in December 2009.

In July 2012 Bold and his then business partner Manny Loupas went their own ways with Bold buying the other half of the company shares.  Bold then moved to Tasmania with a major focus on pursuing the cable car project around other work such as a stint for the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The cost of the cable car project has been touted as being $37 million, with the cable car infrastructure costing approximately $25 million with the remainder on the major buildings above the Organ Pipes, at the intermediate cableway changeover point at Golden Gully above Old Farm Road in South Hobart and another centre near the Cascade Brewery.

While Bold insists the cable car project is viable, the details remain sketchy. In June last year a 60-page feasibility study was completed by Creative Urban Projects but, Bold insists, is “commercial in confidence”. The MWCC website also lists Cable Car Consultants as being responsible for the planning the cable car route.

Earlier this week, the Residents Opposed to the Cable Car released research documenting that Bullwheel IC3, Creative Urban Projects and Cable Car Consultants all appear to “be owned and operated by one man, Mr Steven Dale” who “appears not to have funded, built or operated any previous cable cars.” All three companies were formed at different times during 2013.

In the last month Bold has stepped up lobbying to gain ‘landowner consent’ from the Hobart City Council and persuading the Mt Wellington Trust to rezone the land the land at the top of the Organ Pipes to enable the construction of a major visitor centre, restaurant and function centre.  However, while Bold’s company have released preliminary details of the project, no environmental assessment or research on other key potential impacts of the project have yet been undertaken.

At last night’s Hobart City Council Bold’s bid to get the Hobart City Council to give in principle landowner consent for the project was rejected. Instead, the Council have detailed a list of information they would require before even considering the issue.

Earlier on Tasmanian Times Residents opposed to cable car question consortium

Ted Cutlan, ROCC: Unanimous vote by HCC Finance committee a strong signal to Adrian Bold

ABC: Hobart council tensions over cable car project