Tuesday 5 February 2008

What's in an Icon?

Following last week's Cairns City Council meeting where the Douglas Icon Legislation was labelled "a joke".

Mayor Byrne said that if a Council has an effective and robust [CairnsPlan] planning scheme, then there is no need for additional protection. He believes it will add more bureaucracy to a complicated planning process.

CairnsBlog guest columnist Douglas Shire Mayor Mike Berwick is furious by the failure of Cairns to understand why there is a need for Icon Legislation to protect special places like Douglas from rampant development, proves they just don’t get it.

"This is the reason why Cairns has ongoing hillside development, highrise on the waterfront and the chaotic peppering of urban, industrial and commercial development across the rural landscape," Cr Berwick says.

“It’s also the reason a number of developers are holding applications, that do not comply with our planning scheme, until after the Cairns City takeover of Douglas on March 14 – they are hoping or expecting they will get a better deal. And it explains why advocates of unfettered development are critical of the Icon concept – it is clearly designed to stop those very people."

“If they claim they already “…look after their special places…” then they should welcome the Icon Legislation as a means to help them do it in the long term.”

Douglas Shire has retained its beauty by retaining tight urban footprints, maintaining the rural and agricultural landscape, keeping developments off hillsides, limiting building height and densities and protecting the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest.

Mayor Berwick said the Shire's major sectors likely to be affected by the legislation – tourism, chamber of commerce, agriculture, conservation and heritage have come together and are remarkably unified in what they see as constituting the special values of Douglas.

“That being said, we share Cairns City planner’s concerns that the mechanisms to protect those values are cumbersome, time consuming and will likely lead to delays in processing applications. Because of this, Noosa, the Local Government Association and I have collectively written (see letter above) to the Minister asking more thought go into the legislation, it not be rushed and interim powers are used to prevent decisions conflicting with the current planning scheme by the new Cairns Regional Council, until finalisation of the legislation.

Mike Berwick said while the legislation is clearly needed there is goodwill towards the new council’s staff, who will have to deal with iconic issues, and to applicants, to ensure process are clear and efficient without leading to additional costs or delays

“I have briefed Cairns City planners about our support for the concept and our concerns about the legislation and have invited them to attend our recent meeting but was given a blank “..not attending..” with no reason from the Interim CEO.”


Anonymous said...

Yes Onya Des. The Douglas Shire got the same high levels of public consultation about what they wanted as we did. Bugger all.
Don't look up Desley that shadow is still a flying pig.

Anonymous said...

Bungyone, Douglas Shire residents did get public consultation over their planning scheme and many people participated. That's why many of us are more than a little protective of it!

"I’m very impressed by the way Douglas Shire residents got involved in the planning process and had their say about their future".

Desley Boyle, 26th June 2006, Media release

It's just a shame the State Govt. didn't give us the same say over amalgamation with CCC.

Anonymous said...

Desley Boyles comments regarding an extra layer of State protection for Iconic places is a worry.
In Minister For Everything,s previous roles as Minister for the Environment, Local Government Planning and Women, her total indifference to the community and heritage was obvious.

Both the Cairns Post and ABC,s polling for saving the Heritage Cairns Yacht Club (69% in favour) as well as her complete disregard in presenting a 4500 strong petition to Parliament (It was forgotten or misplaced) shows that Port residents will be in for a much less than local representative.

As well, the approval of a potential further eight High Rise apartments are in the pipeline for what's left of Cairns City waterfront.

This really shows where Desley stands on Iconic Places. Port residents might want to note that the land mass at Trinity Wharf would be less than a fifth available on Dickson Inlet.

Goodbye views, goodbye public access and hello to Forty high rise apartments ?

A mini Surfers Paradise at your door soon, ask Desley ask the Port Authority?

But don't hold your breath for a straght answer.

Anonymous said...

Whew! The old Port will be open slather after the elections. One gigantic, packed metro of high rise towers crammed from seafront to mountain edge, with more towers, resorts and "private" beaches snaking down to Buchans Point.

Anonymous said...

Oh joy, highrise = elevators, elevators = small smelly enclosures... No wonder they call themselves Schindler's lifts...

Anonymous said...

'My community and I' Mike says. What a load of diatribe. Mike once again went behind the backs of other DSC Councillors by sending this letter without even giving other councillors a copy till days after!! But that's what we've come to expect up here in Douclas Shire with Mike as our leader. Bring on amalgamation!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, those "other DSC councillors" you'd be referring to would be Egan, Pitt, Sciacca and Bellero, a.k.a. the gang of 4. There have repeatedly stated that they didn't want anything to do with the iconic legislation and voted on the issue, not once but twice, just to make sure everyone knew where they stood...and you expect Mike to consult with them at this stage? You have got to be joking? It's not surprising your post is anonymous. You obviously don't have the guts to put your name to such rubbish!

Anonymous said...

To the perception of Douglas residents, the iconic legislation represents (arguably rightly) little more than political tokenism in the greater context of amalgamation. However, that notwithstanding, the legislation does provide an opportunity that must not be simply contrived nor dismissed.

This opportunity is namely for the values and attributes of the Douglas Shire to be recognised by higher powers. It is thus, imperative that the people of Douglas unitedly support (I know it's not a strongsuit)the legislation and the symbolism that it stands for. These values represent everyone, from farmer to feral, and all in between. Yes... ironically even you Mr Anonymous.

The logic behind this legislation is that it seeks to retain the desires and aspirations of residents for their surrounds, rather than the all too common basis of facilitating incremental change for the benefit of the few.

Anonymous said...

I did but they decided they wanted nothing to do with it. When I later moved a motion to engage Councillors and staff, they used their numbers to rescind it and repeated they did not like it and the state should do it all.

So that’s what has happened. Brought it on themselves

People who fire shots anonymously barely deserve a response.

Cr Mike Berwick
Douglas Shire Council
PO Box 357
Mossman QLD 4873
(07) 4099 9403

Anonymous said...

As the old saying goes "you never appreciate what you have until it's gone." I'm not a Port Douglas resident but have admiration for Mike Berwick and what he stands for. If only we had people of his calibre and conviction in Cairns City Council. To anonymous be careful what you wish for. Amalgamation is all about the FNQ 25 Regional Plan. Without amalgamation the State Government knows only too well it wouldn't have a hope in hell in getting through and implementing its policies. Amalgamation effectively removes the ability of communities to oppose those parts of the plan which are contrary to the needs or desires of that particular community. It's not rocket science.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, the iconic legislation seems to be a sore point. 'Roisin' seems to be more than a little perturbed!! Remember 'Roisin' that there are 2 groups of the 'gang of four' depending on which way Egan votes.
There are 4 anonymous comments on this blog but none seemed to raise the ire of 'Roisin' except the one concerning Mayor Berwick. What's the connection?
Some points I would like to make:
1. In a recent article in the 'Gazette' Mike was incensed that Mayor Byrne signed his letter, sent to Douglas Shire residents, as Chair of the Cairns Regional Council Local Transition Committee without first checking with himself or Cr Melinda Cox. The letter on this blog written by Mike to MP Paul Lucas was written on DSC letterhead and signed by him as Mayor of Douglas Shire. Did he first check with other Douglas Councillors (not just the 'gang of four' but ALL councillors)that it was factual and correct? Remember it was passed by Council that they wanted the State to fund this investigation and Mike voted with the alleged 'gang of four' - if you don't believe me, check the minutes. Is this not double standards?
2. Mayor Berwick and Douglas Shire residents were angry that the minister stepped in and told them they would have no say on amalgamation (I was one of them). Protests and plebicites were organised. On the other hand, Mike had no qualms in enlisting the help of Desley Boyle to overturn DSC's decision on the town plan. As he was instrumental in the formulation of the iconic legislation draft, I can only assume he is happy with the Minister having the final say on decisions affecting this area. Double standards again? It appears to voters in Douglas Shire that he is happy to have ministerial intervention when it siuts him.
3. Congratulations to Rod Davis - he seems to be the only writer on this site who is not slanging off at someone.

Anonymous said...

Dear Daphne, you are quite correct in saying that Mike voted on the the 18th Sept. 2007, along with Egan, Pitt, Sciacca, Cox and Davis to repeal the previous motion on the 5th Sept. and to send a letter penned by Pitt to the Minister. This letter was a watered down version of the original of the 5th, that stated “That Council rejects and distances itself from the so-called ‘Iconic Legislation’ and refuses to be a part of the process. That Council refrains and forbids all staff and consultants or any law firm to work under contract for the Council for the purpose of drafting of this legislation." The original vote on the 5th was Egan, Pitt, Sciacca, Bellero (for); Berwick, Cox, Davis (against). It was also noted in the minutes of the 18th that;
"The Mayor wished it be recorded that he voted in the affirmative for the motion because he thought it was the best way forward and not because he necessarily agreed with Cr Pitt’s letter."
On the 11th Dec. the following motion was put;
Moved Cr Berwick Seconded Cr Davis
“That the Committee:
• formally engages with the government and community about the makeup
of the proposed ’Icon Legislation’;
• instructs staff to run a community engagement process about both the
legislation and the iconic values for the purpose of informing the state
about the views of this community; and
• asks the state to provide sufficient time for the community to be properly
consulted and is provided with design and timeframes of the engagement
For: Cr Berwick, Davis, Cox
Against: Cr Egan, Bellero, Sciacca
Carried on the casting vote of the Chair.
Then on the 20th Dec;
Moved Cr Pitt Seconded Cr Egan
“That Council reaffirms its position on the draft ’Iconic Legislation’ in accordance
with its resolution of 18 September 2007 and the advice provided to the Premier, the
Hon Anna Bligh MP, and the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Hon Paul
Lucas MP.
For: Cr Pitt, Egan, Bellero, Sciacca
Against: Cr Berwick, Cox

My "connection" is that I have represented the Douglas Shire Sustainability Group (DSSG) at a number of steering committee meetings on the Iconic legislation, including the meeting on the 30th Nov. with Minister Lucas. I attended the council meetings on the 5th & 18th Sept. and 20th December and I am quite familiar with the minutes of those meetings.

When Peter Beattie and Andrew Fraser stated that Douglas & Noosa were to get Iconic legisaltion to protect the special values of those areas they requested that Mayors Berwick and Abbott assist them. I can only assume that is why Mayor Berwick uses DSC letter head paper when corresponding with the minister. I do agree that iconic legislation was/is the carrot to placate the angry masses over amalgamation, but to suggest that State can be so easily influenced by anyone let alone Mike is absurd. The DSSG and many other groups lobbied Minster Boyle to overturn DSC's initial decision on the town plan especially as the timing was crucial and we were in danger of having no town plan at all!

Anonymous said...

In reply to Daphne, on the first point:

My letter is on my own Mayoral letterhead, not on Council’s. This is perfectly normal procedure when a mayor writes with his own opinion that is not necessarily his(her) own. Eg I write references for people on my own letterhead. What I have done is to effectively implement Council’s latest decision (that I supported) asking the state to run the process of engagement etc. As a result of my lobbying the state has funded a planner to document the iconic values, cross reference them with the existing planning scheme and local laws (already happened) and run them past the community (yet to happen)

I do not support the legislation as it stands, hence my letter to tht Cairns Post, as below, yet to be published

To the Editor
Cairns Post
8th March 2006

I’m writing to update your readers about the progress of the Icon Legislation.

The Local Government Association, Noosa Council and I have made it clear, at a meeting in Brisbane last week, we see some simple alternatives to the unworkable, separate Development Assessment Panel as proposed by the Qld Government.

For example Iconic Values could be made a matter of state interest so councils are simply required to adhere to the planning scheme, with respect to those Iconic Values. If change to the scheme is sought, then a community engagement process is required. We have argued that alternative suggestions, such as this, should be considered at a workshop of councils, the state, experts and practitioners (including Cairns City)

We believe, like Cairns City, that the Panel as proposed duplicates the role of Council, will need considerable human and financial resources, will add time to assessment. It potentially takes power from the community and transfers it to the minister.

However the Icon concept and the process for making and amending planning schemes is supported – it provides a focus on the special values of the community, it forces council to consider these values and it enhances community participation.

We also agree this is not about new regulations or extra layers of bureaucracy, its about highlighting and valuing what is already there in existing statutes and identifying amendments that should be made.