Sunday 5 August 2007

Who's the real threat under amalgamation?

The numerous speakers at today's anti-amalgamation rally in Port Douglas were squarely venting their anger at the State Government. And rightly so. Now is the time.

While Julia Leu, the new Acting CEO of Douglas Shire, spoke with passion and vigor of her committed staff, she should have highlighted the reason why there was no compatibility of a same-sex marriage with Kevin Bryne.

Given the forthright predictibilty of these changes and that they are a fate d’compli, it would be sensible to focus on where to from here? I expect and hope that this discussion will be held in due course. Once the dust settles and the understanding that less government isn't such a bad thing, then the anger will turn to one of how to manage the process forward. Local representation can be effectively managed, with strong safeguards in place to protect the Shire' green assets.

It would have been enlightening for someone to have acknowledged they they wouldn't want a bar of Kevin Byrne's style of administration anywhere near the Douglas Shire. His Council has showed contempt for planning approvals, the democratic process of opposition to local environment issues, and challenging past decisions. All too often his Councillors justify bad development decisions by saying that they couldn't defend an opposition to it in court. And how often have we seen a fine dished out to a developer that has caused damage to our landscape? Or one that has actually been enforced?

We need a regional government that listens, interacts, respects, debates, and negotiates with it's local residents.

So, when the Douglas and Cairns Shires join up, the biggest threat will be the larger Cairns Council and it's attitude to rip and bust. Development up hill slopes, on False Cape, on every beach community, has been allowed unchecked and with now master plan of what the local residents see as a sustainable and robust growth plan for our greater community. With a track record of appalling development approvals, multi-story and hundreds of high-density apartments allowed on almost every corner of the region, including the beach communities, they has hardly a proud record to sing about. This place is fast becoming the air-conditioning apartment capital of Australia.

For Byrne to claim that Berwick's "fear campaign" about development in the Douglas Shire under a Byrne-led Council, is outrageous. Byrne claimed that this has not occur ed on the northern beaches of Cairns. Well, one only has to look at what is occurring on the land between Kewarra, Clifton, Palm Cove... on Buchan's Point... and now around Smithfield.

A huge number of green spaces right around the region, and in the city suburbs, are been boxed up with construction wire and within months CEC, Hedley and the like, are filling these with concrete and copycat apartments, all designed around the air-conditioner. A town has to breathe, and these vital green spaces serve a valuable part of the human Eco system of space.

To give any credence to the suggestion that Byrne should led a combined Council representing the Daintree's interests, makes my stomach sick. It would be like putting President Bush in charge of a child care facility in Bagdad.

Reminds me of the old saying "Bombing for peace.. is like fucking for virginity"

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