Saturday, 29 September 2007
Today I bought Ben Lee's new CD Ripe, a truly great collection of music by this Aussie singer/songwriter.
I'm a huge fan of his melodic style. This follows his award-winning, multi-platinum Awake Is The New Sleep.
As I was driving across the Baron River bridge this morning, en route to the airport, I acknowledge that this is great car music.
His new CD Ripe enjoys themes of love and sex, with Lee being flirtatious (Blush), straight-to-the-point (Sex Without Love) and head-over-heels (Just Say Yes).
Ben's is touring Australia in October.. here's the calendar. He's is now based in LA, and roped in Mandy Moore on the poptastic Birds And Bees; Good Charlotte's Benji Madden busts a wicked '70s hard rock guitar solo on Sex Without Love and Lee uses an all-star chorus of backing vocalists including Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins and Rachael Yamagata - on several tunes.
At the age of 14, he was discovered by The Beastie Boys. His debut solo album, Grandpaw Would, was in 1995 and was followed by four critically acclaimed albums filled with pop melodies. in 2005 he released his fifth record, Awake Is The New Sleep that included the hit Catch My Disease, that went double platinum and he received four Aria Awards for Best
Male Artist, Single of the Year, Best Independent Album and Best Album Art.
The single went on to become the first ever independently released #1 radio song in Australian history, and went Top 10 in Canada, Spain and Benelux, and Top 20 in the US.
He recently appeared on Rove. Here's the lead song from Ripe:-
The sun has just risen on this lovely Saturday morning.
My Cairns Post E-paper edition is extra early today - surprisingly. Of late, it's been rather inconsistent with it's arrival time in my inbox. Somedays, not till afternoon. And I thought the dub dub dub thing speed things up?
Thought I'd give you a treat, for those that are still brewing their Lakeland coffee beans and waking up with Rage blurting out on ABC 2.
I'm a fan of the Weekend edition, as there's more space, longer stories, and more local stuff. The weekday edition is like eating Chinese. You are still hungry afterwards.
- Today's lead, is that same old story that comes out every few months. When there's little else to share, we hear what properties at the top end of the ledger have been sold. Yawn.
- There's a tale about a Malanda businessman who's life was on death row when his Telstra Bigpond (my ISP of choice) gave up the ghost for 48 hours. Oh, how we love to bash Telstra. Communications aren't infallible. Guaranteeing that your Internet will be connected 24/7 is like saying that Kevin Rudd will romp in. While I have sympathy for lost income due to no Internet, I have to say $5,500 less gambling in Malanda for two days... he probably did his community a favour! TCW's Wally Donaldson was correct in saying that businesses shouldn't be on a home package. There are business-grade products available for those that require a vital connection, and a $29/month deal isn't the one.
- There's an update on the new mod loo at Port Douglas that wasn't doing what it orta. The "loo with a queue" was fixed after they flew in a loo-expert from New Zealand. Yeah, us Kiwi's can do almost anything.
- There's a 2-page feature (minus ads) about Police Remembrance Day
- Vin Diesel won't make it to Gilligans tonight
- The mandatory monthly croc pic appears again, this time from a Westcourt embankment
- Ergon gets slammed by local tree lopping firms, who say they've lost thousands in revenue because of their street clearing programme last month.
- Mayoral candidate Val Schier says the Mayor needs to justify his Council's China spending spree that's gone on for years. Maybe you should tell us about your Tassie jaunt Val? You could build a friendship garden down there?
- CBD disability access is improving
- Warren Inch, I mean Entsch, announces his farewell dinner on Sat 6th October. Email if you would like to attend.
- Union lad Stuart Traill gets another one in letters to the Ed, as does the infamous regular Schmidlin surname of Yorkeys
- Greg Punshon puts up another excellent argument, and I always enjoy Gavin King's piece.
I was a bit aghast. Even though the message was clear following the first meeting, that they were closed sessions, and media and observers would be by invitation only, Noel was very accommodating.
"So long as anyone has asked to attend prior to the meeting Michael, you're welcome to be here," he informed me. I hope this tone will prevail upon Chairman Mao's return.
A number of sources have confirmed that Noel is a far more straight and accessible CEO than his predecessor Farmer was, and in this instance, I have to agree.
With our Mayor in China offsetting our carbon emissions, Douglas Shire Mayor Mike Berwick was to chair the meeting.
So I took an early lunch break and wandered off to the Council Chambers, up to the top floor of the Council palace.
The view from the third floor meeting rooms and mayoral floor is rather awesome. It resembles much that is Cairns today. Foxtail palms grace the inner courtyard below to give a fake tropical effect, with piped in water, surrounded by high rise concrete on all sides. Ar, yes - this is the Cairns I know.
As I wait, I see the mayor's office at the end of the corridor, and see moving boxes stacked outside. No, that was an illusion... maybe even delusion.
I'm welcomed like one of the family. Council media guru, Robyne Holmes passes, in preparation for the meeting and says "Hello Michael," with a friendly upright smile. Gary Scofield, the other half of the Council's PR machine. shakes my hand and says good morning. I felt a bit like a naughty schoolboy that you'd rather have back in the classroom, than siting outside sticking gum on the playground seats.
It's a few minutes to kickoff, and the throng of LTC members arrive for the second Transition Committee meeting. The Union heavies arrive en mass.
Mayor Mike is accompanied by Tony Cadwell, one of his council workers, who's been asked too many times to play Santa at the staff Xmas party.
This was a genuine example of Berwick's ability to connect with his staff by bringing one of the lads from the ranks as an observer.
There is a big push from unions to be involved in this transition committee, to protect staff throughout this period of change.
David Groessler and Darryl Noack from the Australian Workers Union, Steve Rodgers, Australian Services Union, Stuart Traill for the Queensland Council of Unions, and Ed Taylor QLD Council of Union have all made sure they get they voice heard through this forum.
Local sporting icon Richie Bates, who is running for Council in 2008, and Steve Rodgers chatted in the foyer before the meeting.
Acting Douglas Shire CEO, Julia Leu arrives, whom I last chatted with following the boisterous rally in Port Douglas in early August. However, we've moved on from there, and so has her hair style. She's a power dresser-Douglas style. I asked her to pose for a pic, right in front of a handy evacuation plan. Just in case.
Following Committee members heading into the meeting room, there is a wait before observers are permitted in. Agreement by the meeting and the chair of who attends, has to be agreed.
Deputy Mayor Cr Terry James is present and Cr Paul Gregory is there as the Mayor's proxy.
The meeting is called to order, and the chair announced that WIN TV will be along in a while. "Will they get in okay?" someone asks. "Well, It's not Lotus Glen!" exclaimed CEO Noel Briggs.
The comparison was a bit raw, even for this blogger and not worth any all too obvious quips.
Top of the agenda was the appointment of an interim CEO of the Cairns Regional Council. Julia Leu had already decided not to put her name forward. Noel Briggs was therefore confirmed in the role and he quickly dismissed any additional remuneration, as suggested by one of the union delegates.
There was a lengthy debate about union participation on the employment sub-committee.
Council perceived there were too many, however Darryl Noack said this was "non-negotiable". There will be a total of 13, representing both Councils.
The strong push from Unions was in part due to Douglas Shire's keenness to pursue AWA's for it's staff, and the Union is strongly against this.
We soon broke for a cuppa and cake. Cr Gregory was convivial in his dashing pink ensemble. A matching tie and a R W Williams shirt. "My wife picked this one out," he exclaimed. Cairns Post missed out on this scoop.
I briefly chatted with Melinda Cox, Division 2 Councillor from Douglas, as she grabbed her first coffee for the morning. They have a lot of divisions in Douglas.
Meanwhile, the union boys absconded to the outside balcony for some private scheming, and a cigi in the no-smoking area.
The Communications and Consultation plan was approved, along with the new CRC LTC logo, no doubt coming to a mailbox near you soon.
Council meetings like these may seem laborious, even painfully tedious at times, however access to these forums is a fundamental right for a local democracy.
We should not take this access for granted and our city leaders need to remember they are there to serve as our servants.
I genuinely thank Noel and Mike for their support in my access to the meeting. CairnsBlog may not be a traditional media outlet in this election race, but certainly one medium that is seriously interested in our local government.
The next LTC will be on Thursday 11th October. I'll be out of the county on the day, so someone else will have to be my spy. I encourage everyone to make the time to attend a Council meeting from time to time, and see your elected representatives in action.
I may have come for the meeting, but I stayed for the cakes.
Friday, 28 September 2007
Seminars for Intending Candidates for the 2008 council elections are being held in Innisfail and Cairns in early October.
You need to register to attend these free seminars, email Georgina Carpadios. Provide your name, daytime and/or mobile telephone number and email address. Also your role: i.e.: Candidate for Division XX
You can also telephone the Local Government Collaboration:-
Dept of Local Government
Level 17, Mineral House
PO Box 15031, 41 George Street,
Brisbane Qld 4000
Telephone: 3225 8662
Fax: 3225 1350
These Seminars are being held to help councillors, candidates and intending candidates to understand the election process and the roles and responsibilities of local government councillors.
You only have 167 days until Council elections on 15 March 2008, more anticipated than the Simpsons Movie.
Here's a copy of the original Proclamation declaring the change in status.
While it's important to celebrate history and heritage, it's also important that we ensure our status and traditions remain appropriate for our people and community as we grow as a nation.
I'm a big fan of New Zealand becoming a republic. The arguments for are compelling.
New Zealand will inevitably become a republic. It is a step that should be taken as part of redefining itself to reflect the realities of the modern world.
The Dominion editorial endorse New Zealand becoming a republic and stated that if anyone proposed a system of government where the head of state lived on the other side of the globe, who visited about once every five years and who had the job solely because her father had it before her, there would be few takers.
- An informal poll suggests about 40 per cent believe New Zealand should become a republic, though there are differences over timing. That it is not more is surprising in a nation that prides itself on its independence, on its democracy, and on its egalitarianism. The suspicion must be that the only reason that New Zealand keeps a monarch is a belief that it cannot do better. That is mistaken. There are issues to be worked through - how much power a president should have, how he or she should be chosen - but New Zealanders should have confidence in themselves to do that, and to have one of their own as head of state.
Helen Clark as NZ Prime , is far more powerful in the constitutional monarchy than she would be under a Republic. Bolger knew in the 1990s that championing a Republic didn't risk losing support. I believe that Clark genuinely supports a republic, however is not very public on this issue. I'll ask her when I visit next month!
Anyway, the Queen should make the following Proclamation on the centenary of Dominion Day...
This proclamation is, of course, not real and, in terms of S13 of the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981, the display or exhibition of the Coat of Arms in the mock proclamation is not done with purported approval of the New Zealand Government or the Crown!
Mark Buttrose of the Save Our Slopes Community Action Group Inc. said it was a shame Council regarded development along ridgelines and on scenic headlands as appropriate.
Last evening's Council meeting endorsed a number of changes to the CairnsPlan.
"Our attractive hillslopes are an important part of our scenic landscape and the community has strongly indicated its support to preserve them," Mr Buttrose said.
"Council treats the community with contempt when it ignores these concerns."
Save Our Slopes provided a highly-detailed 60-page submission [SOS Hillslopes - CCC Submission.pdf note: size 9 mb] on just some of the many hillslopes earmarked for development in the council's Cairns Plan.
Council's response was tabled at its meeting on Thursday September 27.
"One surprise was changing the maximum slope permitted to be built from 1 in 3 gradient to 1 in 4 gradient," Mr Buttrose said.
"This sounds great in theory, but it's of little consequence regarding the Panorama Place development in Whitfield where the 1 in 3 gradient is not adhered to.
"Here we have slopes more than 1 in 2 being developed using what can only be described as extremely heavy engineering techniques. The Cairns Plan prohibits this, but it takes place anyway."
Mr Buttrose said council had zoned the iconic headland of Taylor Point and the ridge along the top of Whitfield Hill between Brimsmead and Whitfield as suitable areas for residential development despite the requirements of the Cairns Plan.
"This is in conflict with the desired environmental outcomes of the Cairns Plan that states prominent headlands and hillslope ridgetops should remain in their natural state," he said.
"The Council is inconsistent with its decisions to protect some slopes and not others." Mr Buttrose said the Flying Leap hillslope near the airport was a prime example of this lack of consistency.
"This slope requires rehabilitation, especially as provides an attractive first impression for visitors arriving in Cairns by air,"he said. "But Council has refused to provide any meaningful protection."
Save Our Slopes identified 24 hillslopes in its report, just some of the hillslopes requiring a greater level of protection.
"Save Our Slopes will continue to lobby State Government to ensure effective visual amenity laws are enacted," he said.
Mark Buttrose is also contesting the Council elections in March 2008, as part of the Cairns 1st Val Schier's Alliance team.
You can contact him on 0417 600 828 or by email
At the special meeting to approve CairnsPlan Amendments, the Council assessment of submissions was undertaken north to south of the City, with reference to the relevant Council Division.
Council Division / Locality
All / Reconfiguring a Lot Code
All / Hillslopes General
Division 11 / Captain Cook Highway, Ellis Beach
Division 11 / Bokissa Road, Palm cove
Division 11 / Paradise Palms Drive, Kewarra Beach
Division 12 / Kennedy Highway, Smithfield
Division 9 / Brinsmead Road, Brinsmead
Division 9 / Butland Street, Brinsmead
Division 9 / Bel Air Drive, Whitfield (Whitfield Hill)
Division 9 / Ramsey Drive, Kanimbla (Marino’s Quarry)
Division 12 / Jenkins Access, Redlynch
Division 10 / Captain Cook Highway, Aeroglen (Flying Leap)
Division 12 / Leonard Street, Kewarra Beach
Division / Locality
Division 11 / Foley Road, Palm Cove
Division 11 / Marana Street, Trinity Beach (Taylor Point)
Division 11 / Reed Road, Trinity Beach (Earl Hill)
Division 12 / Red Peak Boulevard, Caravonica
Division 12 / Stoney Creek, Kamerunga
Division 12 / Flindersia Street, Redlynch
Division 9 / Brinsmead Road, Freshwater
Division 12 / Redlynch Intake Road, Redlynch (Tognolini’s Corner)
Division 9 / Heavey Crescent, Whitfield
Division 6 / Collins Avenue, Edge Hill
Division 12 / Fairley Street, Fantin Close, McColl Close, Orminston Close, Stack Close, Willie Ming Close, Redlynch Valley
Division 12 / Lum Jim Street, Stapleton Close, Gavin Hamilton Close Redlynch Valley
Division 12 / Turpentine Street, Redlynch Valley
Division 4 / Bruce Highway, Woree
their value as habitat be maintained. The forested hillslopes above the coastal plain and river valleys are landscape features representative of, and uniquely characteristic of the City. They are features which make the City attractive to both residents and tourists and which contribute in distinguishing Cairns from other cities. The hillslopes are also an important habitat and form a link between the coastal lowlands and mountain ranges.
The majority of hillslopes have been included in the appropriate Hillslopes Category and
the appropriate Planning Area, as a result of the ongoing planning by Council and the
public consultation undertaken in 2004.
• Fine tuning the Hillslopes Overlay is best undertaken by the landowner/developer at
the time of an application.
• The Hillslope Overlay directs the land owner to the Hillslopes Code which contains
more detail than the Hillslope Overlay, so regardless of the line between the
Category 1 (Urban) and Category 2 designations the Code has effect
• Chapter 1 of CairnsPlan addresses these matters as follows:
• Overlay Code;
• Planning Area Code;
• Land Use Code;
• General Code.
SOS began in 1995 as a community action group whose focus was the preservation of Whitfield Hill for use by the community for recreational purposes.
From this start, SOS became aware that Whitfield Hill was not an isolated case and that many other hillslopes in Cairns were earmarked for subdivision . The present aim of the SOS Community action Group is to ensure Cairns residents are informed on issues relating to the preservation of Cairns hillslopes for future generations.
A wealth of information and resources, and additional SOS submissions, including the Council's appalling record on False Cape, are archived on Future of Cairns.
You may also find list useful Cairns and FNQ Green Directory
He said he'd trade off times with his kids, and have their grandma as carer.
Hockey earns more than $200,000 pa, and believes under an AWA he could double that.So, just for Joe, here's an appropriate song from Mike and Xenia...
Thursday, 27 September 2007
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.
- 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.
- Review of CairnsPlan - Amendment 2007, No. 1
- Draft PSP - Cairns CBD Streetscape Masterplan
- Amended PSP - Reports and Information Council May Request
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
The new benefactor is the Half Moon Bay Golf Club, that manages nearly 200 aces. The land in question is on the northern side of the Yorkeys Knob Community Centre property in Wattle Street. It neighbours a children's recreation area, including a BMX track, that adjoin the Golf Club land, along Cunningham Street.
In a strong exchange of words at Tuesday evening's Yorkeys Knob Residents' Association, Cr Margaret Cochrane announced how a small parcel of land at the rear of the Community Centre has had a title transfer into the name of the golf club.
Long-time Yorkeys resident and local SES coordinator, Alan Cullington, was angry that this occurred without any community consolation.
"This is community land, how dare this be simply transferred into the ownership of a special interest group," he said. Allan asked the meeting if anyone was aware that this had occurred. There was no knowledge of this.
Cr Cochrane explained that, to her knowledge, the decision was made by the local Yorkeys Knob Activities Group. Such committees exist around the region where there's a local community hall. Their task is to manage the local facilities, and encourage participation in events and activities to utilise such facilities.
"Their job is to look after these assets for the community, not flog them off," said Cullington.
The secretary of the Yorkeys Knob Activities Group, that was appointed in late 2006, Brian Hooley, alerted the Residents' Association to the matter, which occurred prior to the current committee's tenure.
Other members include past president of the Residents' Association, Glenda Rowan; Heidi Widmer, who manages the dining business at the golf club, Wayne LeClos, Alan Cullington, June Corrie and Councillor Margaret Cochrane.
The committee at the time when the decisaion was taken, were Tom Spearman, Chris Coakley, June Corrie, Alan Cullington and Councillor Margaret Cochrane.
Records are not clear to when and how the decision exactly occurred. Why open community consultation was discouraged with the larger Residents' Association, was not able to be explained to the meeting.
It is known that 2 years ago, a large number, up to 20 people from the Golf Club, became members of the Activities Group, so that they could vote in the Group's matters, one of which was the transfer of a land parcel.
The Community Centre has seen some financial return to purchase equipment for the hall. Proceeds from the Golf Club Open Day also was directed to the Activities Group, as part of an 'agreement' when the deal was done.
Wendy Dowsett, the Vice President of the Residents' Association also weighed into the debate. "This wasn't a consultative process at all."
According to Cr Cochrane, the leasing agreement was a three-way approach that occurred between Council; the Golf Club; and the Activities Group. "The Council Transfer of Title has gone through DNR," said Margaret Cochrane.
One of the concerns, beside the loss of community land, according to Alan Cullington, is that this patch of land is being used for golf club vehicular access and is unfenced - an area that neighbours onto the BMX track and a children's play area.
A resident told the meeting that many years ago it was agreed that the community centre land would never go to the gold club.
Local resident and candidate for the upcoming Council election Richie Bates, who has strong background in sporting clubs and recreation facilities, said that there is nothing to stop this from occurring again. "We have seen no open communication before this decision occurred. We need to ask for answers from our Council."
"The bottom line is, should this land be returned to the community? We have nearly 3000 residents here and they weren't consulted in this process," says Cullington.
The meeting resolved to request the Councillor to report back as to how this decision was made, and investigate avenues to return the land to the Community Centre.
Alan Cullington is the current King of the Knob,
Palm Cove Barbie
This princess Barbie is sold only at Myers. She comes with an assortment of Kate Spade Handbags, a Lexus SUV, a long-haired foreign dog named Honey and a designer kitchen. Available with or without tummy tuck and face-lift. Comes with the optional Real Estate professional or Car yard owner Ken sold only in conjunction with the augmented version.
Trinity Beach Barbie
The modern day homemaker Barbie is available with Ford Mini Van and matching gym outfit. She gets lost easily and has no full-time occupation. PDA, laptop & mobile phone sold separately.
Parramatta Park Barbie
This recently paroled Barbie comes with a Switchblade knife, a Chev Rodeo with dark tinted windows, and a Meth Lab Kit. This model is only available after dark and must be paid for in cash (preferably small, untraceable bills)
Bayview Heights Barbie
This Noveau Riche yuppie Barbie comes with your choice of BMW convertible or Hummer H2. Included are her own cappuccino cup, credit card and Golf club membership. Also available for this set are Shallow Ken and Private School William. You won't be able to afford any of them.
This pale model comes dressed in her own Jeans West jeans two sizes too small, a similar sized t-shirt and tweety bird tattoo on her shoulder. She has a carton of full-strength beer,a pack of durries and a Jimmy Barnes CD set, as well as lots of doof doof music. She can spit over 2½ metres and kick mullet-haired Ken's arse from Central to The Great Northern, when she is drunk. Purchase her ute (made from stolen parts) separately and get a Bad Girlsticker absolutely free.
Edge Hill Adult Education Nuclear Power Protester Barbie
This doll is made of actual tofu. She has long straight brown hair, arch-less feet, hairy armpits, no makeup and Blundstone's with white socks. She prefers that you call her Willow. She does not want or need a Ken doll, but if you purchase two Bacardi Breezers and the optional Subaru wagon, you get a rainbow flag bumper sticker for free.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Now this one is for the coffee wankers.
I used to be part of the coffee elite, when I walked Lambton Quay from Parliament, along the city walk, and up Woodward Lane to the Terrace. Those where the days you had three, four, maybe even four coffees in a day.
It was mad, but the self-imposed stress of corporate life made it all normal.
I've studied coffee and who has what. I reckon the Post's politico Damon Guppy (his friends call him Yuppy... actually, I made that bit up), is a Flat White kinda guy. Whereas Margo would probably be a Soy Latte kinda chick.
You see, I've moved on from star signs, I now match people up against their coffee of choice and the traits that go with it. I mean, Taurus, Capricorn and Virgo are so last season.
This arvo I grabbed a [not telling] cuppa from the fab Dolce & Caffe on Shields Street. The girls there certainly know a Barista from a Barrister. I knows there's an art in coffee. You only have to chat to a suit, usually visiting Cairns for something unrelated to tropical Queensland at the Convention Centre, to hear their take on all things coffee. "Coffee is way better in Sydney," said Simon, sporting a tie and a briefcase I chatted to outside Dolce. "I think it's not really appreciated up here in this climate" he went on to analyse.
I mean to say, are there really a bunch of coffee wanker elite out there in Cairns? Do people really care it it's too hot? Too cold? If the beans were crushed or squished?
Well, one visit to Edge Hill and you may as well have taken a $169 Virgin Blue trip to Sydders.
Edge Hill has become so coffee-ied, there's talk of a name change to Caffeine Hill.
Even our famous marketer Andrew Griffiths moved his business from Lake Street's Corporate Tower to Edgehill just for the coffee selection. "It was a huge decision, but at the end of the day, our staff were not performing up to standard without good coffee within easy reach," says Andrew, who never consented to this interview. "You'd better not be recording this phone call Michael?"
Edge Hill resident and prominent local writer, Tony Hillier, is often spotted at Biscotti's, soaking up the atmosphere.
Meanwhile, Mayor Byrne and Councillor Blake frequent the corner cafe at Five Ways, across the road. Mind you, never at the same table. Maybe it's that Alan is a Mocha and Kev's a Fat White? Anyway, I really think they should kiss and make up, as they'd make a lovely couple.
An Edge Hill cafe was where our Mayor managed the city evacuation from on the day of our tsunami, or as someone in Woree would say, salami.
Did you know that, depending on the type of coffee and preparation, the caffeine content of a single cup is, on average, about 207 milliliters — or in a single shot of espresso, about 60 mL. And I knew you'd ask, so here's what a caffeine molecule looks like:-
And now for some coffee tips that you never thought you'd find on CairnsBlog...
- When shopping for perfume, take some coffee with you in your bag and have a good sniff in between smelling each perfume to refresh your nose!
- Sprinkle spent coffee grounds around the base of your garden plants and it will stop snails and slugs from munching them!
- A mixture of coffee grounds and sugar, fed to a pot plant and watered regularly, will revive houseplants that have turned yellow in winter.
- Some of the world's most powerful business, including Lloyds of London and the New York Stock Exchange, started life as a coffee houses.
- In 2001 Brazil produced a scented postage stamp to promote its coffee - the smell should last between 3 and 5 years.
- Vincent Van Gogh was a big frequenter of the café society and famously said “I have tried to show the café as a place where one can go mad.”
- Pope Clement VIII loved coffee and authorised its use.
- Revolutions have been planned in coffee houses, namely the French and the American Revolutions.
- At the end of the 16th century records show there were at least 500 cafes in Istanbul alone. The first European cafes were opened by immigrants from Asia around 1650.
- A coffee tree has a lifespan of about 50 to 70 years.
- The coffee cherries turn from yellow to orange and then bright red, 6 - 8 months after flowering
- When it is in bloom, the coffee tree is covered with 30,000 white flowers which begin to develop into fruit after 24 - 36 hours
- A coffee tree can flower eight times in any one year - depending on rainfall
- There are 900 different flavours of arabica. Complex and very volatile, they deteriorate if exposed to air and light
- The aromas in coffee develop at the 10th minute of roasting
- Coffee increases in volume during roasting by 18.60%
- When coffee first appeared in Africa, it was used as a type of religious intoxicant
Coffee is the second most widely used product in the world after oil, and is worth about $49 billion per year to the producing countries. 1,400 million cups per day are consumed and is the world's second most popular drink after water. So don't say I didn't tell you anything useful today.
Finally, here's some of my coffee "star sign" recipes:-
- Caffè Latte: Impressionable, silly, never commit, always thinking about the weekend
- Cappuccino : Quick on your feet, dedicated, always honest, but forgetful
- Caribbean : Distant, disorganised, travel freak, skitzo, always catching colds
- Espresso : Manic, plans of grandeur, ego-driven, below average height
- European: Ruler of most, full of it, smart, sexy, verbose, blogger
- Instant: Southern suburbs, newly-wed, bikie-type, hug boots, tradie
- Mocha: Weak, misses dates, hugs trees, fantasy for lingerie, adores children in restraints
- Irish : foreign, issues with past, distant mother, oppressive father, sexually ambiguous
- Viennese : sexually confused, doesn't return calls, problem child, closet nudist
- Iced Coffee: Loner, dislikes cats and dogs, collects stamps, likes telemarketers
And I could sign off without plugging the incredible Coffee Works in Mareeba. That's a visit work making if you have a free afternoon.
Now... tell me where your favorite coffee place of choice is....
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.'
Damien's a member of the, get this... the Common Sence Party. The marketing team at the CSP have worked overtime to produce stickers and rear window advertising banners, like this one, spotted by a eagle-eyed CairnsBlog follower [thanks Kurt!].
The CSP advocate a wide range of targets... affordable fuel (for Campaign Mitzies); lower taxable income; affordable housing, increase public housing; rental assistance; double number of medical professionals; salary cap; community recreation facilities; renewable energy; and tie politician wage increases to minimum wage increases.. phew. And that's just before lunchtime.
By the looks of Damien's parking skills, I reckon he needs all the common sence he can muster.
83% of all votes are after the Mayor's resignation on his return from his Council-ratepayer-funded 8th junket to China to plant some orchid blossoms somewhere in Shanghai. Well, you'll have your chance to get your wish in 185 days... so buckle in for the ride.
Notable mention goes to bringing back "A real business deal", and "Something not made in China"!
It's dedicated to the editorial team at the Cairns Post, who gave us the inspiration for some gratuitous soft core chicks for the pleasure of 88% of the male population, and probably 12% of female audience (give or take a bit).
Anyway, we will name this week's "I-couldn't-be-bothered-doing-another-political-jibe-this-week" contest.
Good luck... and please, keep em clean.
- "You can't be serious, Howard is only 7 points behind?"
- "We come from a land up over to see what the boys got down under"
- "I'm Jane and she's Tarzan, what's your name big boy?"
- "Yeah we caught a fish this big, but I threw it back because it was way too cute"
- "Well, at least I bought my towel, you towel!"
- Just think, we could be in China as your Mayor's personal secretaries if you weren't taking our photo!"
- ... your turn...
Monday, 24 September 2007
Here's some of the events surrounding the remains of the Toma development site, on the southern end of Sims Esplanade, Yorkeys Knob.
For 20 years the site at the southern end of the Sims Esplanade in Yorkeys Knob has operated as an eco tourism Bure style accommodation with 30 freestanding elevated bure style cabins, a communal eating pavilion and two small swimming pools all tucked in amongst the melaleuca and associated native forest on the site.
The site was protected from any major development or removal of the vegetation by Constrained Development Area status under the Planning Scheme for the balance of the City of Cairns as well as the area being mapped by DNR as endangered remnant vegetation.
The property was purchased by The Toma Group about four years ago and a five story 111 underground carpark resort was proposed for the site.
Under Planning Scheme for the balance of the City of Cairns (the previous Plan), the site was impact assessable, so a sign notifying locals that this development was planned was erected.
The community submitted 40 or so submissions, petitions with in excess of 500 signatures and 90 signed form letters objecting to the development by the due date (the 13th of February 2004 ) to Cairns City Council from the Yorkeys Knob community of which consists of only 1,200 households.
The Council proceeded to give the development a Preliminary Development Approval in June 2004 no submitters were notified of this nor offered the right of appeal. In September several months later development approval was given to the developer The Yorkeys Knob Resident's Association then went to the media complaining that our objections to the development had been ignored.
Finally, eight months after the original submissions were lodged with Cairns City Council, our right to appeal the approval/s were received by many, but not all, of the submitters. The Residents then lodged an appeal with the Planning and Environment Court.
The Residents' case went to court on February 14, 2005. Three days in Court, $10,000, a swath of experts and locals taking the stand, and six weeks later they emerged jubilantly from the Cairns court house after Judge White had ruled to uphold our appeal on the grounds of loss of residential amenity, unreasonable height, bulk and that the development was completely out of character for the area
The most units in one block in Yorkeys Knob are a block of 33. This development proposed in excess of 200 units.
In March 2005, the new Cairns Plan was released and after several applications by the Toma Group the Cairns City Council have finally approved the development. The issues of height bulk and destruction of residential amenity still remain or are even exacerbated in the new proposal.
Local Division 10 Councilor Margaret Cochrane voted against the development at the Council meeting on the 30th of November and agrees that the plans have not substantially changed at all and in fact the proposed development has progressively become worse.
The Yorkeys Knob Residents' Assn are currently obtaining legal advise regarding this situation and are terribly disappointed that all our hard work, fund raising, the invaluable assistance of Kirsty Ruddock from the EDO and our sheer determination has been overridden with no obvious form of redress.
On the 30 November 2004, a motion was passed at the Residents' Association monthly meeting to lodge an appeal No. 457 of 2004 with the Planning and Environment Court in Cairns against the Cairns City Council and the Toma Group Pty. Ltd. After counting our donations against the final outstanding bills, they still owed money.
Three years on, and Council have still not managed to track Toma down to pay costs nor clean up the site. Here's the Cairns Council minutes from April 2007:-
16. APPROVAL TO ENTER AND CLEAR 23–25 SIMS ESPLANADE, YORKEYS KNOB – DIVISION 10: COCHRANE / BONNEAU
1. Employ a contractor to enter and clear a rubbish filled overgrown block situated at 23-25 Sims Esplanade, Yorkeys Knob. Commence legal proceedings against South Beach Developments, Toma Group and Alistar Toma to retrieve the cost of cleaning the land.
Under Local Law No. 16 (Control of Nuisances):
- a. Breach of Local Law No. 16 (Control of Nuisances) Section 15 (1)
Prohibition of Visual Pollution:
‘An occupier of on whose land or materials are brought, or allowed to accumulate, that seriously detract from the visual amenity of the land commits a nuisance.’
- b. Breach of Local Law No. 16 (Control of Nuisances) Section 19(1) Air
‘A person must not keep on land objects or materials that are:
i. Unsecured or inadequately secured and
ii. Likely to be carried away in high winds with resulting risk of
personal injury or property damage.’
- c. Breach of Local Law No. 16 (Control of Nuisances) Section 21(1) Dangerous Substances/Materials:
‘An occupier of a residential lot commits a nuisance if objects or materials are brought, left of placed on that land so as give rise to a risk of personal injury or damage to the health of a person or damage to property.’
- d. Breach of Local Law No. 16 (Control of Nuisances) Section 17(1) Control of Nuisances:
‘If land is overgrown with vegetation so the vegetation becomes unsightly or likely to attract reptiles or vermin, the occupier of the land commits a nuisance.’
The 1.4373 hectare site, that is deemed of 'environmental significance' is "a disaster waiting to happen" says Pam Bigelow, who headed the Residents' challenge against Alistair Toma.
Bigelow recalls how the original Vegetation Protection Order was "lost" on the property, according to Council representatives and Toma.
The old swimming pool is now choking with weeds and stagnant water for a child to drown in. the property has no boundary fence, and is an eyesore.
Queensland Health's Tropical Population Health Unit has confirmed 18 cases of dengue in Cairns and the Dengue Action Response team has been engaged in inspections of the site.
Southbeach and the Toma debacle is a compelling case of how a Council and a developer got into bed together, and each simply wanted a fast buck to walk away with in the minimum amount of time.
Walk along Wattle Street towards the Esplanade today, and you'll be greeted with a breeding ground for more than mozzies. There's rotting rolls of discarded carpet, chemical drums, overturned garbage bins overflowing with rubbish and a once free-flowing creek, the pride of an eco-friendly neighbourhood, now stagnates under the weight of filth.
The Residents' Association has appealed several times to their local Councillor at their monthly meetings to get the site cleaned. Alistair Toma has long left town and his rates are nearly 2 years overdue. Cr Cochrane says that these will be recovered through means, which could result in sales of property. At one point, an address Toma supplied to Council for sending invoices and communication, was subsequently return 'Gone No Address'.
Council hesitates to incur the cost of $15,000 to clean up the mess for fear of it being unrecoverable. After several e-mails to council, in March The Residents' Assn made a formal written request to Council to make the site safe with a clean up of the debris and discarded materials, including the derelict van.
In April last year, the Hon. Judge White in his deliberations found that the Southbeach development would have an adverse effect on the residential amenity of the area to such an extent that preliminary approval should not have been granted by Council.
But if the plans for the four-story, 90 apartment development got shot down, the site is still endangered.
Judge White set aside the preliminary approval and development approval that had since been made. The Environmental Defender’s Office of Northern Queensland represented the Yorkeys Knob Residents' Association who sought to challenge the preliminary approval given to the development. Kirsty Ruddock of the EDO-NQ appeared as Solicitor/Advocate.
The development approval given was for 90 apartments, 40 with dual key capacity, comprising of four storeys, with a rooftop fifth level, that extended 60 metres along Wattle Street, and 130 metres along Kempton Street, together with retail and restaurant facilities along Sims Esplanade.
Local Residents challenged the approval on the basis of ecological sustainability including the importance of vegetation and wetland on the site, and the height, density, bulk and general aesthetics of the development. The development proposal required the removal of 14 significant trees, and development next to a wetland that the Residents claimed contained some local environmental significance.
In his ruling, Judge White found that the Constrained Development area that existed over most of the area required special attention to ensure the residential amenity of the area was not affected. Further he said that while the Council did have the ability to grant a dispensation in relation to height, given the nature and extent of adjacent and surrounding land uses, the height allowed was too great. In particular, the design of the development had 130 metres in length of buildings of 12.7 metres in height that was be visible and of course to local residents. The adjoining area of Kempton Street, had no bulky blocks, and therefore the development was not within the reasonable expectation of the residents in the area.
The Judge found the land had some ecological value, but found that the propositions in the Strategic Plan relating to ecological sustainability could not be looked at in isolation and therefore there was no conflict with these provisions. He also accepted that the car park on the adjacent road reserve adjacent to the beach area would be built, as submitted by the Council, in a way to ensure that the vegetation in that area was preserved.
As a result of the decision, the developer would have to lodge a new development application with the Council if he wishes to build on the site. The case empowered local communities to have some say in the development that occurs in their area. This was a very important precedent for the region about what is acceptable in relation to development and its effect on amenity for local residents.
Following the judgement, a legal spokesperson for Toma said that he would seek recourse from the Council for approving the development in the first place, yet the Council was complicit to the approval process all the way along. It seemed that each were hell bent of the process of green and development at any costs with little checks in place of community consultation or vegetation removal approvals being checked.
Local residents are still fighting to preserve the affected land from the developer's neglect and Cairns City Council's lack of action.
The site remains in a state of disrepair and scattered with debris to this day.