Thursday 27 September 2007

Cairns Plan submission

I blogged back in August about the CairnsPlan, which is a controversial piece of local planning legislation for our city and suburbs.

Cairns City Council developed the new Planning Scheme to "establish Council’s planning intentions for the City for the next 10 – 15 years."

The plan was adopted by Council on the 27 January 2005, and commenced on the 1 March 2005. Here's a copy of the adopted CairnsPlan.

Below is the submission that the Yorkeys Knob Residents Association Inc, submitted to Council in objection to the draft Cairns Plan, prior to approval. It was largely ignored, even though it was common with a great number of objections lodged to the initial draft.

It was authored by Pamela Bigelow President and Wendy Dowsett Vice President.

Submission Concerning proposed amendments to the Cairns Plan

The Yorkeys Knob Residents Association is strongly of the opinion that the Draft 2007 Cairns Plan does not come to terms with the major problems in residential areas especially in relation to the multiple dwelling Zone Res 3.

The planning scheme comprehensively fails to address Residential Amenity.
Residential Amenity in the Res 3 zone has been and continues to be seriously compromised by the lack of adequate controls in the planning Scheme over the design of multiple dwelling units. This is a consistent and overwhelming concern of residents living in 1, 2 & 3 zones and is raised constantly at our meetings.

In particular we have specific concerns on the density remaining at 400 persons per hectare. Our Local councillor stated some time ago at a monthly residents meeting that this density allowance was not appropriate for the Northern Beaches and that she would seek to change this back to 200 persons per hectare in the next review.

The problems that will arise from this density allowance include:-
  • Increased height of multi unit buildings
  • Increased site coverage
  • Loss of established trees and native vegetation, loss of residential and visual amenity
    The creation of heat banks
  • Restriction and prevention of Airflow (cooling breezes) to established surrounding residences.
  • Loss of privacy and increased overlooking and shadow effects to adjoining properties.
  • Noise from air conditioners necessary due to heat bank effect and overcrowding
  • Parking issues causing spill off into residential streets.
  • Seriously increased traffic in quiet family residential areas.
  • Inadequate road infrastructure for the size and numbers of vehicles.
  • It is unfeasible that one formula for parking requirements for unit developments be applied across Cairns City to a township 20 Km from the CBD. Vehicle requirements are obviously far greater further away from CBD services. A separate increased parking requirement needs to be applied to areas outside the inner city. (Yorkeys knob is not walking or cycling distance to any major service centres. There is no recognition of this fact in the current Cairns Plan.)
  • We totally oppose the reduction of onsite parking requirement for Res 3 developments as proposed in the 2007 draft Cairns Plan. I.e. 1.75 parking spaces per unit down to 1.25 parking spaces per unit.
  • The proposed 1.5 indents and the other measures mentioned in clauses A5.1, A5.2, A5.3 are tokenistic and cosmetic cover-ups that are an attempt to conceal unsightly and excessive bulk of multiple dwelling units totally inappropriate for a small community. Yorkeys Knob is not a high density inner suburban area, it is a beachside township with a unique character of it’s own and the imposition of high density multiple dwellings is another example of the insensitive planning which seeks to destroy the individual character of established areas.
  • Set Backs for multiple dwellings are insufficient to provide adequate space for screening vegetation and to prevent shading and overlooking of neighbouring properties.

Site coverage

  • We strongly oppose an increase in site coverage to 40 % - The previous levels were already far to high as all developments include large areas hardened by swimming pools and concrete surfaces with resultant site coverage being up to double the building footprint, leaving minimal garden and landscaped areas.

Vegetation Conservation and waterway significance Code 4.6.9

  • We note that existing trees in Res 3 Zone A 4.1 will be retained and applaud this change. However we feel the statement lacks definition and clarity as to how it will be implemented.

The Planning scheme makes no attempt to encourage the provision of medium density cluster or terrace housing that would significantly increase population densities without sacrificing residential amenity. Such developments are far superior to multiple dwelling units because they can provide such benefits as private open space, privacy and much higher degrees of energy efficiency.

Multiple dwelling units at up to 400 persons per hectare simply cannot achieve energy efficiency because of the high levels of embodied energy within the structure, high thermal mass and the huge energy requirements of air conditioning. Throughout the draft plan the concept of residential amenity is repeated frequently, yet the proposals that allow higher densities to be achieved, are in fact diametrically opposed to the achievement of such residential amenity.

This plan treats all suburbs as if “One size fits all” - this is entirely inappropriate. Yorkeys Knob like North Cairns has its own special character and deserves to be treated accordingly. We believe this draft plan is retrograde step, and is not in the interests of the residents of our area, and we wish to make further representation to Council in an effort to ameliorate the damaging effects that this scheme will have on the life of our community.


Review of CairnsPlan

A review of the CairnsPlan was undertaken and public notification occurred from the 8th May - 22nd June 2007. Council is reviewing all submissions and will notify submitters of any changes that result.

Here's the Planning Scheme Policies which support the CairnsPlan, and the FNQROC Regional Development Manual Policy. You can also contact Council at


Anonymous said...

Despite your continual attempts to foment vitriol against the current council and mayor, it should be noted that the voters in Yorkey's Knob returned both their local councillor and mayor to their jobs at the last election.

By a large majority.

That's how it works, sport.

The fact that what is apparently a minority viewpoint on the look and future of your suburb can't get any traction with the wider community is why these views continue to be minority views. Whinging about it is counterproductive.

Anonymous said...

I live ion Yorkeys too.. and both the local councillor and the mayor were not returned my a "large majority"!!!

the other candidate got 1808 votes, or 48% of the vote. (Cochrane got 1970).

As for the mayor, he got 27,319 and Schier got 22,077 or 41.4% of the vote.

Neither is a large majority at all.