Thursday 17 January 2008

To be an Icon or not, that is the question

Douglas Shire Councillor Rod Davis, and candidate for Division 10, writes from north of the stump...
  • Howdy Blogstars. Yes, Douglas has repeatedly voted 4 to 3 to bury the input of professionals and planners into this Icon legislation.

    No sooner had my last successful motion to get legal and planning input going, the 'gang of ignorance' voted it down, but they were delayed two weeks, and at least, in that window before Christmas, we had some great professional opinion.

    I was one of the instigators of the ideas around the legislation, and worked feverishly on ideas to shape the laws with Mike Berwick and Bob Abbott, Noosa Mayor, a few months back. There is another meeting about it in Brisbane, 17 Jan.

    Many in Cairns Council mock the 'icon' concept with mixture of humour and buggery. The word 'Icon' came from Peter Wade, the former Queensland Tourism Chair, who embarrassed Beattie is his pre-retirement payoff to the Property Council.

    Beattie, like all the 'boys' in the behind the scenes club, had political debts to pay before his unexplained shift from Premier to feather duster. One such pay off, got rid of nuisance councils like Noosa and Douglas, who had for years pioneered anti property ideas like population caps, and god help us, sustainable communities. The word Icon was used to suggest the foreign tourists who came to Noosa and Douglas did so because they were different, and by homogenising them into a massive urban sprawl, their independent views would be dissolved in the political mainstream that is bigger government.

    But to me, the Icon debate has gone completely pear shape. The original idea was to do with keeping the local in local character. But the misleading "icon' nomenclature has got every dog barking up the wrong tree. The original intent would have helped replace Douglas's loss of self determination with a mechanism to insure that future changes would embody local character and views. But what is evolving is far from this.

    I and others met with the Deputy Premier Lucas, and put a case saying the legislation should be all about keeping local input in future changes. What will one day be changed is perfectly clear, it's Douglas's local laws and town plan. There is no need to mount a crazed hunt is search of what makes us iconic, as its already in existence...its called the Douglas town plan and local laws. The debate should focus on how future changes are made, and not try to redefine what has already been 100 years in the making, namely Douglas's local laws/plans.

    I had proposed a people empowering method, based around calibrated, compulsory, community consultation, at all major changes to Douglas's plans and laws. I might as well have asked the Deputy Premier to kill his own children. The whole concept of the Bligh Govt allowing us, the people, any say, is totally abhorrent to Captain Bligh, and her paid-out former boss.

    A great example of Bligh's rebuttal to us the people was in Beattie/Bligh/Fraser's refusal to even allow any polling on the issue of amalgamations. Bligh continues her animal farm ways with compulsory fluoridation , bugger the objectors views.

    Now, where we once wanted local input into iconic legislation, the State now makes the Minister the arbiter of what is 'local' character, and to hell with the locals themselves. Some say the NSW and Qld Governments are headed down the same track as the Howard Govt, its just a matter of timing. What the hell does the Minister know about local character? And Paul Lucas and Jason O'Brien's agenda is self confessed to be all about growth, just like Howard's 'Go for Growth' noose.

    So ask yourself, in shires like Noosa and Douglas, that have long floated ideas like population limits and fixed urban footprints, how can we trust a growth obsessed state ALP when it comes to managing iconic legislation on behalf of Douglas locals? You might as well put the Nazi SS in charge of Passover. Passover will we have, and in about 20 years Douglas and Noosa could well look like the homogenised sprawl that is the Queensland coast now.

    So back to the icon legislation. To me its about local input in local changes. Its not about making lists of what is iconic, the lists are done already.
    Its about who has a say in future changes.

    A classic example of why we are in deep shit can be seen in how the State is handling the Port Douglas Police Station. Yes, Port Douglas needs a new 24 hour police service. The State are pushing through a new station to be built on the waterfront reserve. The Port Douglas waterfront is waiting, under a development moratorium, for a community agreed design for its master plan, and its architectural guidelines. One such guideline, will make the waterfront buildings iconic in their simple low energy design, which will for example have a lot of shade devises reducing the heat load of coal powered air conditioners.
  • If anything is 'iconic' in Port Douglas, it's its waterfront. But who is the first developer to break the moratorium? Its the Bligh Government itself. And as for keeping the local in local input, the iconic idea, well, let's bin it, eh Ms Bligh. The State is refusing to oblige. The police station is in a park for recreation. But that isn't stopping the State override the local wishes, and its pushing forward its plan to rebuild the Port Police Station, regardless of the Councillor and Waterfront Protection Group's loud objections, and despite internal wrangling and complaints from State Development and Tourism portfolios under Desley Boyle.

    When its comes to Judy Spence's' police station, its my way of the highway. Joh's Police state is well and truly alive when it comes to self interested town planning.
    The idea of combining one adjoining, ambulance, fire station and police base, on the spare land on Davidson Street just is not getting traction, and you would ask, as many are, is this about service to the community, or is it more about views from the Police homes overlooking the Coral Sea with land worth some $4M per house block just 100m away.
  • Where would you best serve the community in a massive natural disaster?... from a centrally located , high ground, main road site, alongside ambos and firies, or where the sunset views are best? Well, the views won out. The whole icon idea of local in local input is nothing but a farce. And as for the agreed moratorium on waterfront development, to hell with that, this is Captain Bligh's ship here, and mutineers will eat barnacles face first.

    But one day dear Anna, maybe just one day, your growth obsession, the money, money, police and money agenda will be as good for you, as it was for John Howard's 'Go for Growth', memorial.

    Animal Farm: A great book. Just like the original Bligh mutiny story. History repeats itself.


Anonymous said...

Sigh....Rod Davis is correct in stating that essential services must be located in higher ground.
We can no longer assume our coastline will be safe from storm surges, tsunamis or rising seas.

portmultimedia said...

Bless you Rod, patron saint of tantric wisdom. Whilst I agree with most sentiments you have expressed here I feel you and a few other vocalists are misguided to the extreme regarding your opinions as to the location of the Port Douglas Police Station.

I know the current location of the Queensland Police Reserve is still strategically significant to this day, if they ever agree to develop the waterfront complete with that mini Lake Eyre you are proposing you will need to have a Police presence in that area.

Rod, it is no mistake that licensing is handled by the police, you will generally find Police Stations in and around areas of concentrated alcohol consumption such as the inner-village precinct of Port Douglas.

What shall we do, shift the Combined Clubs, the coppers and then pull the old sugar wharf down, while we are at it let’s shift St. Mary’s church to Mottman!

If you really want to know how many of us think the Police Station should be moved get a petition going or have a rally or something, you will be surprised and so will Don.

Police Station stays, not negotiable…

Anonymous said...

In the last 30 years the population of the Douglas Shire has more than doubled from roughly 4000 people to 11,000. Two years ago you approved a town plan that expects a similar growth rate and made some of the necessary land use changes to cope with this growth. The plan also significantly limits growth north of the Daintree River and only does so because of the intervention of the State. That area remains the main game in terms of important global conservation outcomes and the Douglas Shire Council nearly let it go.

The Icon legislation will give the residents of the Douglas Shire a second bite of the cherry when it comes to development assesment. If the people elect a progressive Council on March 15, it may not be necessary to even invoke it.

Your conspiracy theories about Douglas, Noosa and the rest are a bit far fetched. Your Council had more resources and opportunity than most and all it did was squabble and embarrass.

The new regional Council is an opportunity for renewal and change from the excesses of both administrations. I hope people grab it and use their two ballot papers to ensure our future prosperity and survival in this great region.

Anonymous said...

Hi Val. Hi Jason.

Thanks Jason for your comments about Douglas, and sure, we do hold out hope for a progressive outcome at the elections, as god knows the
current DSC council sure leaves a lot to be desired.

Watch this week as they try to boot me out for saying 'shit happens' about the loo with cue.

Then they need a CEO to replace Julia for a few months, yet they want to sack the David Carey, the logical acting CEO. Its like the dear sweet Hitler family in the bunker, in the last weeks. Its Douglas Jonestown.

Your quip about Cairns Council being the House of Evil, sure does not exactly inspire our ongoing confidence in the amalgamation, no one has shown us where it will save money, and so far there has been no merger, instead, its a full blown corporate raid, just ask Douglas staff.

We thank the State for backing the Daintree compo, but it was lead by Mike, backed by Rod and Melinda, and you guys just caught the ball. It was the State who had to pay, as it was the State who authorised the stupid rainforest subdivision in the first place, remember?

Douglas sees growth with restraints. The State just sees the SEQ immigrant hoards, and panics, assuming growth, growth, growth is the agenda for everyone, and yes, everyone would love to live in places like the Northern Beaches and Douglas, but you will wreck these places without constraints, so we are nervous when the minister gets the key to the Iconic chastity belt, as we known how much the state is hanging out to have growth sex with what is behind Douglas's shiny chastity belt.

The new ALP is so much more in the palm of the money agenda, you guys are like neo-con Blaire, of that great Republican in a Democrat's clothing, Clinton.

With world share and house prices on the way down as the debt sands get washed from under the footings, I wonder what the future will bring on the subject of growth? I'm sure Qld will try to continue to be the worlds coal drug dealer, despite the implications. I'm sure things will change they always do. Springborg has got the seeds being planted now. A giant economic shift, and governments will fall.

My theories about Beattie's departing motivations being far form innocent may alarm you, but hey, tell us why mayors have less access to ministers than developers?

And tell me, Beatties certain Knights of affiliation is simply just his card playing team, right?

Tell me that all Andrew Fraser's years of wisdom have us in safe hands. Tell us you won't fluoridate us with smoke stack scrubber compounds? Hell, who am I to comment, I don't eat my daily fluoride pills, so I must be mad.

It was fun having you in studio again, thanks for the coffees. it always a pleasure and you can wrangle out a good razor's edge political answer. Walking such fine razor's edge with confidence can be dangerous when things get slippery, but you can do it better than me. I'm just a guy with value system, not a political pact.

What would we poor regular punters know. Have a good week. I think we have Val Shier in on Monday. Blogger Mike Moore live Friday, and KB somewhere closing.

Tell ya what, we could sure have a wild show if we had Val, Mike and KB all in the studio at the one time. Media Monitors are desperate for our recordings and we shall start podcasting the show (for background music to, preying to keep within the libel parameters whilst enjoying a laugh.

We should be like mum says, don't say anything at all, unless you have something nice to say, (or shit funny, at least). Stay tuned for my WHICH BANK FUNDS WITCH HUNT ? blog, ...tall tales and true for the legendary Douglas Council. Coming out tomorrow or late today.

Rod Davis
0418 235 561