Tuesday 25 September 2007

The Esplande is a pig sty

"Our town is a pig sty," says a tour agency manager on the Esplanade.

Shane Horne manages the popular reef tour booking agency, Reef Information Centre on the world-famous Cairns Esplanade.

"I've been working at this prominent site for a long time and never has the Council cleaned up this footpath properly," says Shane. "Beyond the odd street sweeper in the earlier hours of a Monday morning, nothing has changed."

Prime rent along the Nard strip should deserve better attention along this key tourist area.

Two years ago, the then Cairns Chamber of Commerce president, Bob Norman, led a stinging attack on the Council's inability to clean up the CBD. Top on his list was the gum and mess that was becoming a permanent fixture on the Esplanade. "It's not good enough," said Norman.

"Nothing has been done to this day," says Shane Horne. "We come in every day thinking that it will be scrubbed and gurneyed. You wouldn't allow your driveway at home to look like this."

Ivana Patalano, director of three Reef Information Centre tour outlets, one around the corner from their Esplanade location in Shields Street, knows all to well about the state of the Esplanade and surrounding streets. "There's gum and stains all over the sidewalks. It's amazing that Council has not dealt with this before," says Ivana.


Smokers also contribute to the deterioration of the sidewalks, and this has been exacerbated following the lockout laws and no smoking laws came into effect.

"As a smoker too, I have to say that Council have not dealt with this problem. Now more and more patrons come out of Soho Night Club [in Shields Street] to smoke and throw their butts and ashes all over the footpaths. This is causing a great deal of message in the footpaths," said Ivana Patalano, who's business is located next door to the night club.

"Why haven't Council created external smoking areas? They knew this legislation was coming and the provision of smoking receptacles is very substandard."

Meanwhile, Shane Horne continues to question why the Council spend millions on facilities that are aimed at tourists, yet when the visitors arrive, are greeted with a filthy town.

"I've travelled a lot, and this town compares very poorly to other significant tourist destinations. Cairns really needs a serious clean up, starting with the Esplanade and other key areas where our domestic and international visitors frequent," he says.


"I arrived in Wellington recently, late at night and we wandered down the entertainment strip of Courtenay Place to get a drink. Council staff were out scrubbing the place, it was genuinely sparkling. It's a true international city and it feels clean. Why isn't Cairns like this? Surely we get more international visitors than Wellington!"

"If this Council don't get their act together, they'll need to update all those pretty signs they put up last month that say 'Festival Cairns'. It will have to be called 'Festy old Cairns', " says Shane Horne.

Recently damage sustained to footpath tiles along the Esplanade, whilst the new Flight Centre Money Exchange depot was installing a safe to their premise, next to the entrance to the Night Markets. A forklift ripped through several of the pavers, and they were left in a dangerous exposed position.

"It took three days before Council workers came to repair them," says Shane. "This is another example of how this Council seem to neglect basic maintenance in a key foot traffic area."


"There appears no overall planning about this important part of our city. I've talked with many retailers around this precinct, and the Esplanade from Shields through to Aplin, or even Florence Streets, should be closed off to vehicles," says Shane.

"I envisage trade and delivery access at certain times, thereafter it should be for the pedestrians," says Shane. "This whole area doesn't function well, with the huge volume of people accessing shops and also the Lagoon pool, the town planning is entirely absent," he says.

Meanwhile, a call to Cairns City Council about the cleaning regime along the Esplanade fell on deaf ears, when the issue of the footpath mess. CairnsBlog asked how often the area is cleaned and what plans were in place to remove the permanent stains along CBD footpaths.

The reply: 'Everything is swept over night. We always ensure bins are emptied and streets cleaned around the central business district, including the Esplanade.'


Anonymous said...

The tourist industry's main focus area -Backpackers don't care how dirty the City is. It adds to the atmosphere of sleaze that now permeates the place. Did anyone see this week's JTV report on the Cairns 'nightlife' and the viral UTube videos of Cairns now circulating the UK?

Anonymous said...

Another business owner whinger, i reckon. This "reef tour booking agency" is one of dozens on the Esplanade - mostly losers and scammers leaching off the hard work of others. Why isn't he out in front scraping the gum off the footpath? Too busy smoking and throwing the butts in the street - I've seen him there doing it. And the McDonald's people used to be out cleaning that footpath regularly, until the wonderful owner Janet sold off a couple years ago. You know sometimes you've got to get off your fat arse and do something yourself instead of waiting for mommy (Australian for "government") to do it for you. Easy to be a lazy ass and criticise, the proactive approach is to get out there and do something yourself. No wonder this loser is busy leaching off tourists instead of getting a job.

Anonymous said...

Who is this clown? The merchants on the Nard have been very involved with the town planning issues over the ten year period I've been here as a merchant. His opinion to close the street? That's his opinion, and opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one. He's never been at any of the planning meetings when these issues have been discussed between the merchants, our wonderful councillor Margaret Gill (who LIVES on the Esplanade), and other city staff.
There are pluses and minuses for closing the street, and the decision was made (and revisited at least twice) to revert the traffic to one-way as it is now, and limit the truck and coach traffic.

Easy for clowns to wade in and claim that "no one is doing anything", it's a lot harder to actually participate, Mr. Shane Home.

And as for his paving complaints, council steam cleaned the footpath about six months ago. Our area is clean, maybe if he's paying such high rent he should have his wealthy landlord do something (and while he's at it, do something about the graffiti on this building as well as the illegal parking round back).

Anonymous said...

What about the rest of Cairns. The Capt Cook Highway heading north to the beaches is a disgrace, how long did the garbage bin lid sit on the Barron River bridge ?? 2 months at least, and just have a look at the mould growing on all the cement around the roundabouts.....shouldnt they be steamcleaned occasionally? Come on coucillors and Mayor Byrne, dont tell me that you dont see it too.

Anonymous said...

This makes me laugh. The people in the tourist corridore complaining about the condition of footpaths .. what a laugh. Come for a drive out to Edmonton, park your car at Piccone's IGA .. and go for a walk. If you can find a foot path, you've got a good start. then try not to twist an ankle on the cracked and broken concrete. If you manage to do that, try not to fall through the Telstra and Ergon manhole (sorry, person hole) covers. I personally think that the footpaths in town are in good shape in comparrison to ones in the southern suburbs, mainly because the tourists arent directed this way. If the footpath outside your business is dirty, do what I have to do with the footpath ourside mine. Clean it. Only takes a minute if you do it regularly.