Saturday 19 January 2008

If at first you don't suceed, try again

Some stories never have an ending. Some don't even deserve a happy ending.

This is one of them.

The Mayor's favourite restaurant. Well it was up until a few months ago. Villa Romana has been on the CairnsBlog watch list as long as Kevin Byrne has been trying to close us down.

Right up there with dodgy developments and dodgy approval processes, the Villa story just won't go away.

Not content with the fact that they built a structure (an extension to their restaurant) encroaching 53sq meters on public footpath, that the Natural Resources & Water Minister, in one of his funnier statements, says it is "still required for it's original purpose." Well, DOH!

Now there's been so much that's been said about this one.. a sort of he said, she said kind of tale.

Even the now infamous "I'm-not-Denis-Quick-Factman" has chimed into the debate.

He/she/it stated:

  • The plans that were submitted for the outdoor dining permit approval showed the encroaching wall as a "wind break", ala plastic sheeting.

    The building work was carried out behind a large covering shroud supervised by a private certifier, who is licensed by the Labour State Government.

    Council do not have "building inspectors" anymore, this area of responsibility is now State Govt controlled and managed.

    [Ed: warning, laugh coming up ahead]

    The building work was hidden from view and a casual observer would have thought it was part of the Trilogy development. It was not.

    The land encroached over is NOT RATEPAYER OWNED. It is owned by the Crown and administered by the Dept of Natural Resources and Water.

    Council's role, under the Local Govt Act, is to manage and maintain the road reserve upon which the Villa Romano encroaches.To that end, Council has bought the matter of encroachment to the attention of the owner's representative (DNR&W) for them to deal with.You are wrong to bag Councillors and council officers about this matter.

    Council is waiting for the Labour State Government (through the DNR&W) to either sell the land; Lease the land; or order the encroachment to be removed.

So the latest in this torid saga of Council acting like a blind mute, is that Villa's owner George Papagelou, is putting together a 'new and much improved' application to have his illegal land grab approved retrospectively.

The first application to DNRW was refused. The applicant cannot appeal the negative decision. But he is. George of the Concrete Jungle is putting together another application, probably pressing the fact he's shed out more than $1.5m for the little renovation.

Now the outcome of this will be very pivotal in terms of our Council's having it's dirty paws all over it. And it's looking like it will run right up to about the election date on March 15th.

It's time to pull it down...Kev!

With a rather active wet season forming this year, this will also boad poorly on the Byrne's Unity team seeking to win office. You see when it rains, I mean really rains, the wet stuff, the H20, doesn't really treat all those new developments very well at all. With poor drain infrastructure, not only the newly built properties, but surrounding established properties are affected.

A quick trip south to Gordonvale, and you'll be hard pressed to find a loyal voter that will be saying yes to Kevin in 55 days time.

Now here's a funny gem that has come back to haunt the Mayor.

It's one of those full page adverts for Villa, that appears in the monthly City Life magazine. This was when Mayor Kevin was a regular at Villa, prior to the new extension. This September issue was timely, as it was then that they needed the support of the Mayor when the building extension was well underway.

Every issue they print a b-grade celeb/s with the title caption "You never know who you might bump into at Villa"

I think it's time their marketing campaign caught up with reality. How about some truth in advertising for a change with this heading...

"You never know what you'll bump into at Villa Romana.. ... like the building extension that was once a footpath ! "

You can't tell us that many senior folk in Council weren't aware what was at play prior to the 'screens being removed'.

I bet that George had a quiet ear something along the lines of ... "We'll look after you. Put it up and we'll retrospectively support your application."

I see two solutions to this debacle. The extension stays and therefore Kevin goes.. guilt by association. Villa's extension over State Government Land, read our land, is so black and white it's not funny.

If George's business is allowed to retain it's footpath gobbling encroachment, then there is no more obvious plan of attack - to oust Byrne and everyone connected with this blatant disregard and approval process. Complaint by nature.

There is nothing more obvious that this needs to be pulled down. If it isn't down by March 15th, this will be square and centre of the political debate, like a sore thumb. Hope you're ready to fire the questions.

So George has around $1.5m invested in this extension. You can see he'd rather save it, but will it be saved and the old historic Yacht Club go? Which one would Kev rather save from the demolition team?

You really think you'd have it checked out properly, so it was watertight - with all the confusion and mixed views of this.

So they say "If at first you don't succeed, try again. The other one sticks as well. "If at first you don't succeed, you must be a budgie!"


Anonymous said...

Hold the Phone!!!

The mare’s stable was previously in another location. As per his dietary intake requirements he used to slip his nosebag on at many of the local eateries. So it will come as no surprise to discover that “Hey Presto” there’s an extension to a restaurant’s seating area, it blocking the footpath and boarders the road!! So wether Tony Richards, the owner at the time allowed the Mare to graze freely or some other deal was struck remains a mystery but it is an illegal construction still to be corrected.
Oh the local incompetent Cr Bonneau, well what can be said, “illegal construction, what illegal construction?” May whatever higher being you believe in have mercy upon the sloes of those in division 9 if he gets re-elected!
So Fictionboy; answer why mare and co allowed this to remain unchecked for so long? And you still own me an answer re KB pleading the fifth re his wife’s unlawful activities just down the road from this extension at Azure Waters now Allasio?

Enough Rope.

Tony Hillier said...

Re-visiting the list of contributors to Kevin Byrne Unity team's 2004 campaign (see's 'Our Most Read Articles') I note that Villa Romana tossed in a grand. Quelle surprise! Likewise that the CEC Group chipped in $13,000 (of the $261,866 total), and that the bulk of donations came from Big Corpa.

In kind contributions excepted, the fighting fund for Val Schier's Team 04 Cairns totalled a measly $9,750.

Let's hope it will be more of a level playing field this time around!