Monday 7 January 2008

What our Yacht Club could look like

When the Cairns Post, along with Cairns City Council, promotes a view that there is no room for some old buildings in the name of "progress" - a word often used when writers and politicians are lazy and want an excuse to throw back at any opposition - they don't think outside the square.

Nor do they take into account that a city can and should embrace a variety of social facilities and needs that a community has accommodated for many many years.
Do the indigenous population scrub off their ancient rock art because "there's no need for it any longer"?
The Post's new chief of staff, Gavin King and now declared pro-development king for 'moving to the future', would have still been in nappies when the fight to save the Sydney Rocks area and colonial workers' cottages was in full swing.
Jack Mundey was vilified as a "greeny" ,"anti development" and part of the vocal minority. Does that all sounds familiar Gavin ? Jack and his supporters managed to win the day and save the precious "Rocks Area". Now considered one of the must see places in Sydney one has to wonder what the cost to tourism would have been had developers and high rise replaced all the history of the area.
Jack Mundey is now listed as one of Australia's Living Treasures.
Mundey and the Green Ban allowed breathing space and changed the entire approach, arguing that complete areas such as The Rocks, Woolloomoolloo and Glebe could and should be conserved.
The National Trust subsequently also took up this line and adopted that approach. The Trust could not have done this had it not been for the actions of Mundey and BLF Green Bans.
Without such intervention, The Rocks would have looked much the same as the Sydney CBD, generally high-rise modern development.
The Sydney Rocks Area, Freemantle, Handorf SA, Beechworth VIC, Strahan Tas are many examples of extremely popular tourist destinations that are visited for their history, local culture and not a high rise in sight.
Wouldn't it be spectacular to think that Cairns, and what is left of our Wharf Street history, could enjoy the same local and tourist benefits.
This sketch of a refurbished Aquatic Club was produced by well-known Heritage Architect, Bob Cleland.

It shows that a public use building can still be retained on our waterfront without looking like "a huge pimple on the waterfront landscape".

With that narrow-minded mentality, we'll soon have nothing to remind us of our history around this town. Certainly our last colonial history. If we continue down this destructive spiral, by 2020 there will nothing but a landscape of tired and dated crammed together apartments right across the region.

No doubt the Cairns Post and Gavin King, along with our pro high-rise Mayor Byrne, reckon that five more high rise buildings compacted on the old Trinity Wharf site, and a few hundred less public car parks, is in the best interests of the community. This is the frightening plan by this Council on the old Cairns Yacht Club site.

However, it is not in our interests at all.


Anonymous said...

Cities that lose their history and heritage lose their soul, and the kind of heritage-destroying development planned for the waterfront is going to be a tourist-oriented mess of high rises continuing the process of walling the town off from the inlet. The Yacht Club was built by locals for locals and has operated over the years to benefit locals and visitors alike, unlike the tourist traps about to replace it. It's also one of only two buildings that still reflect the social side of the old Cairns port (the other is that old wharfies' pub, the Barrier Reef Hotel). It's an important part of the heritage-listed wharf precinct which includes the wharves, wharf sheds, old sugar terminal, Barrier Reef Hotel and Jack and Newell warehouse. So if anyone dismisses it as an isolated relic that should be swept away by progress, as Gavin King seemed to be saying, they don't know what they're talking about. (Anyway, who was it who said that growth for growth's sake is the philosophy of the cancer cell? - the same should be said of progress for progress's sake.)

Anonymous said...

And with such a clever design, we could have a circus there, full time!

If that's what people think we should do with this building, I vote for "tear it down". That's just plain awful.

Anonymous said...

Here are the facts ...

It's the Cairns Port Authority, that quasi State Government body that is ...

1. Terminating the lease
2. Ordering the removal of the building
3. Placing the site on the market for sale (just like they did to the Game Fishing Club and Tawny's)
4. Pocketing the $15,000,000.00 proceeds

Nothing whatsoever to do with Cairns City Council.
Council has no role in the disposal of Government assets, in this case, land under the management of the Port Authority.

Get up your Labor mates ...

Desley Boyle
Warren Pitt
Steve Wettenhall
Anna Bligh

they are the ones behind this, not as you so mistakenly say ... "This is the frightening plan by this Council on the old Cairns Yacht Club site."

You are so full of it Mr Moore, but I've told you that before.

Why let the facts get in the way of putting our Council down?

Anonymous said...

Oh, is that right Factknob? Its all the State Govts fault then. You can bet if Keith Goodwin was still mayor, even if it was a State Govt issue he'd be rallying behind the Yacht Club gaining all the public support he could to pressure them to change their mind. The same could probably said for Tom Pyne, and most likely Val Schier should she get in. But not KB, he couldn't give a stuff about it, or any other piece of Cairns history as he has shown time and time again during his time at the top. So even if it isn't fully a council decision to save it, if they really wanted to, they could certainly have some swing. But no, why do that when you could put up another monstrosity like the Hedley Apartments across thr road, described by an architects conference at the Convention Centre in 2006 as 'a perfect example of what NOT to build in the tropics'.

Anonymous said...

Craptain Cairns says it's all KB's fault ...

What about your silent Labor mates ?

Desley Boyle
Warren Pitt
Steve Wettenhall
Anna Bligh

Their silence is deafening isn't it?
What a bunch of Chardonnay quaffing Labor hypocrites you all are ...

Anonymous said...

Captain Cairns is right. Kevin Byrne is on official record as having moved the Cairns City Council to object to the Heritage Listing of the Cairns Yacht Clubhouse. Its all there for the world to see at
But give Factman his due, the Cairns Port Authority controls the land and just as Russ Hinze overrode the council to build the Hilton Hotel for his mate, the CPA has the authority to do as it pleases on the waterfront, including allowing Harbour Lights to build higher than the CCC allows for such structures in the Fligt Path. But things have a habit of ironing themselves out and a couple of near misses may change the look on the CPA's face. One name Factman missed in his list of Laborites is Paul Lucas (Deputy Premier). Paul and Anna are the two shareholders of the CPA which is a government corporation. They have been requested to remove the Certificate of Immunity from the Clubhouse so that a Heritage Nomination can be lodged. Why not add your voice to that request by emailing the Deputy Premier now.

KitchenSlut said...

Anonymous said...

Ahhh here we go again. Finger pointing. It's all too easy, isn't it? I remember when Mayor Percy Tucker of Townsville created the historical precinct in that city, the entire lower end of the Strand preserved much as it was at the early part of the 20th century.
The funny thing is I don't remember him turning around and around and "blaming" obstacles on the State Government.
Still, it is a comparison and shows again what a weak and obsequious community "leader" Kev Byrne is.

Anonymous said...

Factman, dear dear. Don't get your knickers in a knot. Of course its not all KB's fault. I wish the State Govt would stick up for it more than they do, not just the Yacht Club but other heritage buildings and Queenslanders that give Cairns that relaxed tropical feel that I grew up with. The feel that drew you, and many thousands of others to live and visit this great region. Yet for some reason people like yourself and KB believe that Cairns would be much better off with bland high-risers blocking out all views and breeze. Who gives a stuff what Cairns was before you got here eh? A real leader, even if they don't agree with public opinion on issues would say 'Look, I understand your concern, this is the reason why we have chosen to go a different path'. But not KB and his council, anyone who disagrees with them gets lambasted publicly, gets phoned up at work and threatened, and better still, as many others have experienced, get a legal letter from council telling them to shut up. I can't imagine any other council, or government treating their people the way this council has. I want real leadership in this town, not the dictatorial crap that we have had to put up with for the last 8 years.

Anonymous said...

I went into wendyrichardson's site mentioned above and found it very informative. Obviously there are many of us across the political spectrum who could unite and fight for the survival of the Yacht Club.
There does come a time when achieving a goal means tossing political allegiances out the window and working together. The Yacht Club is too valuable to sacrifice to power gamers.

Anonymous said...

One of the most distinguishing features about the City of Townsville is all the beautiful old buildings that have been allowed to stand the test of time. They have been restored and well cared for and lend the City some character and charm. Old and new do mix, if new is blended in.
I wonder what will distinguish Cairns from other cities? What charm and character will we have in 10 years time?

Anonymous said...

You know I even felt about this last night while watchinh some old 1969 interviews with Woody Allen.

Bill Cosby and Woody were being interviewed by Dick Cavett, and they were tel;ling story about performing standup in clubs in Greenich Village - a famous area with night clubs. They made reference to clubs that they worked in, and with a little "googling" they still exsist today!

I really feel sad and angry about how this Council is demolishing and being complicit in the destruction of so much of our heritage.

Michael's right on here to say that if we continue this stayle of building, we will soon licve in a boring concrete castle that Gavin King / Kevin Byrne et all, think is called 'future' and 'progress'

Time to turn this around before it's way too late.

What a god-awful town they are creating.

Anonymous said...

Once again Factman, I agree with you. It is not the decission of the Cairns City Council to sell the land that the Cairns Yacht Club is currently on. But .. the council could fight for something that the people want to keep. Weather you agree, or dissagree with what the people want. After all, the people that are represented by politician, weather at a local, state or commonwealth level, have to compromise on what our political leaders decide to do, and therfore, if the people are wanting to fight to save something, or move something, then, shouldnt you as our elected local authority, chosen by the local community, fight for what the people of Cairns want.
In this instance, I am against keeping this particular building, but, I do support the communities right to fight for saving it, and the fact they want to keep it as part of Cairn's history.