Monday 3 March 2008

Deputy Mayor James nervous about False Cape

PHOTO Mayoral contenders Peter Sandercock, Selwyn Johnston, and Val Schier. Terry James attended in Mayor Kevin Byrne's absence. The debate was chaired by ABC's Pat Morrish.

Deputy Mayor Terry James fronted up to a hostile reception at today's lunch-time CAFNEC Sustainability forum, held at the Courthouse hotel.

Following some pre-arranged questions, James, who was attending as the Mayor's representative, was asked from the floor about the Council lack of response to the abandonment of the False Cape site.

Mayoral contender Val Schier, also asked questions about the Council's lack of understanding about the site and the allowance for work to continue through the North's wet season.

"Does Council hold the $650,000 bond, and if not, will the ratepayers of Cairns foot the bill?," Steven Nowakowski of Save False Cape asked Terry James.

"Yes, that's the right amount," he replied. "And no, the ratepayers would not foot the bill for any remediation work on the site, if that is required," said James.

It was not made clear what Council was doing to stop the erosion and substantial run off into the Reef.

"The developer hasn't gone bankrupt yet. It's still a work site," James stated.

Work was abandoned on the site two weeks ago following the collapse of MFS, a key finance backer to developer John Ewens. Property construction company CEC, that was contracted to excavate the site, left after not being paid. It's believed that more than $2 million is owed to CEC. Repeated attempts to locate Ewens has been unsuccessful.

The site, which was inspected by a group of concerned citizens on Friday, is in ruin. Boulders the size of houses, are falling down the site.

"In today's rain, sediment is running right down the site and into the sea," said Steven Nowakowski who was stunned to see the state of the vacant mile-long site.

"I viewed the video that residents filmed on Friday, and it's a disaster," says Nowakowski. "Town planner Peter Tabalou has told us that Council are monitoring the site, however it's clear they're not taking any action."

There is a strong possibility that the bond is not in trust with the National Australia Bank, as per the agreement.

On Wednesday morning, Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett is sending a team to Cairns to inspect the site first hand.

"It's obvious that we're at a crucial point to save what's remaining," said Cairns 1st's Mark Buttrose. "The videos show that the site is falling apart and the two internal roads are very unstable."

Buttrose believes that no developer would want to repair the land. "The cost is unquantifiable," he says.

Mayor Kevin Byrne was seen having lunch at the time of the CAFNEC debate at Piccolo Cucina restaurant in Lake Street.

Three 10 minute video were shot on Friday afternoon and supplied exclusively to CairnsBlog.

Part 1 is below.
Here's Part 2, and Part 3


Anonymous said...

Piccolo Cucina is a stunning restaurant.

Seems KB is so overcome with the cuisine that he couldn't bring himself to break from lunch to discuss matters important to the region.

Anonymous said...

A death, a couple of serious injuries, a coastal environment wrecked beyond repair, and the ongoing tons of sediment pouring out to the reef.
The financier has gone belly up, Byrne and Unity are about to follow, it's time to go for CEC! Building Cairns? Pigs arse!

Anonymous said...

before factman, aka kbcumbreath, makes a comment I just wanna say that factman is a f**king dikwad who should go back to his public toilet.

Anonymous said...

You people are getting all bent out of shape for nothing.

The "free markets" are about to fix this situation, and when the free market begins to work, the results can be brutal. CEC Group, Byrne buddies and CEC directors Roy Lavis and Warren Entsch are about to come undone due to False Cape and other gross business missteps. The market got wise today, and stock went down over 44%!

The board is in crisis talks even now, and lenders are going to push this sorry company over for its sins. The stock is grossly overleveraged just like ABC Learning and Hedley's recently tanking public company.

So much for for "The BoulevardE" and other shitty developments that have been foisted on this community. The markets are about to pick these losers clean, and they won't be eating at the Piccolo Cucina much longer!

Tomorrow will be a big day for corporate spinmaster Andrew Griffiths - we find out if this guy has any backbone or is going to lie his way into oblivion to protect these charlatans.

The bigger question is how do we clean up these messes when if we find out that none of the required bonds have actually been posted???

Anonymous said...

This is a press release I released today for those who haven't seen it:-


Save False Cape spokesperson, Steven Nowakowski today announced that CEC is owed over $800,000 for unpaid construction works at False Cape, now deemed to be a lemon.

The figure of $816,549 is what is known to be owed to CEC Group as of the 31st December 2007 as published in the CEC Directors Report dated 29th February 2008.

Work continued at the False Cape site up to the 11th February 2008. This means an additional one and a half months of work is added to this figure which could total over $2 million dollars owed to CEC Group. This figure maybe much more as John Ewens’ website, the project principle, published that construction costs per month are over $2 million. (please see attachments.)

The site was hastily abandoned by CEC Group on the 11th February when CEC Group was notified by the project principle, John Ewens trading as Reef Cover Resorts, that they could not receive any more finance from MFS. The site now resembles a massive quarry occupying 1.5km of coastline that forms part of the green back-drop of Cairns.

Steven Nowakowski says, ‘I’m sure CEC shareholders wished that their company board never voted to take on this mammoth project which was doomed to fail from the start’. ‘We have seen a worker killed from a falling boulder, an excavator and water truck roll on the site and a cement truck roll on the access road,’ Steven says. ‘Additionally, we still don’t know where the sewerage system is going to go and there is the continual threat of rockfalls which pose a serious threat to life and property as reported in the geotechnical reports.’

CEC Group must now come public and announce that the False Cape debacle has been a mess from day one with shareholders now carrying the burden.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to note MFS bought into the "sub-prime mortgage" packages, which WERE, may I say, endorsed by Wall Street and bought by OUR OWN superannuation fund managers, banks and even the Macquarie Bank.
Nobel Prize Winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz (The Australian, March 01, 2008) said: "The Iraq war has cost the US 50-60 times more than the Bush administration predicted AND WAS A CENTRAL CAUSE OF THE SUB-PRIME BANKING CRISIS...."
(He explains the process in the article.)
SO, if it hadn't been for the Iraq war, False Cape would have proceeded?
Incidentally, keep watching the USA, things are worse than what the corporatised media are saying.

Anonymous said...

The Sub-Prime mortgage did effect MFS which in turn dried up finance for Reef Cove Resorts and hence stopped False Cape. However, I believe the False Cape development as it stood was never going to be viable. The whole project was supposed to have been finished by now. We knew and probably CEC, but the developer refused to acknowledge that you had to blast through granite rock for 1.5km and somehow put in 105 residential blocks, 4 villa complexes and a resort on batters of 1/2 in some places. Also, a sewerage system that was somehow supposed to be built at 80m AHD above a villa complex and houses on unstable land succeptable to rock slides.

The whole project never added up financially. I would estimate that the cost so far for earthworks which are only 1/3 complete have costed about $25 - $30 million. At this rate another $50 million is to be spent to make the site safe and accessable to the public.

Sup-prime or no sub-prime, False Cape was never going to work.

In retrospect the development may have worked if was left in its original 1987 configuration with only one road and 1/2 the number of blocks. But good old Kevin Byrne and his mates approved the reconfiguration of the site in 2003 for the developer to make it so-called more viable which meant double the amount of blocks and the introduction of another road at 40m AHD allowing houses to be built on 1/2 batters.

Therefore, Kevin Byrne and his cronies can be thanked for helping to stop False Cape by making it an engineeringly impossible development.

I have a feeling this maybe Kevin's last week at Council so he better start brown nosing his mates at CEC and get himself on the board with his other Liberal and National mates. That way they can all sink on the same ship.!

Anonymous said...

False Cape was sheer lunacy on part of the developers. Our Council assisted their mates by approving it, agaist much public outcry. They were aided and abetted by both State and Federal govt. who both refused to pull it in. It seems that money can buy anything these days, just like it did in the days of JOH! Not alot has changed, except, that the rot is further entrenched. We have more developers, all with grandiose schemes to build 5 Star resorts/housing estates all up and down the coastline ("the locusts" as someone rightly termed them). We have a useless Council that has attracted these locusts by promising the world, all in the name of development for development's sake and we are now seeing the results of these cowboys!

The ratepayers of Cairns should not have to be responsible for this big Environmental Disaster on our doorstep and gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

Another False Cape scenario looms up behind the hills of Palm Cove!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above says "the free markets will fix the situation".
Yes, the sub-prime mortgage disaster which is sending huge waves around the world is a harsh reminder that "caveat emptor" ("let the buyer beware"(, is one of the principles of free market economics.
I'm pissed off that our Australian superannuation companies bought some of these financial products containing the "sub-prime mortgages" and we are seeing losses on our superannuation.
With Professor Stiglitz factoring in the costs of the Iraq war into the sub-prime banking crisis, we can now say that Australians are also paying for the Iraq disaster.

Anonymous said...

Hey Factman lost yoour Trumpet?
A year ago I and my friend were fishing around a big boulder adjacent to False Cape. I pointed out that it had rolled down from the mountain and that False Cape and the Mountain was decomposing Granite. It contains boulders bigger than a house weighing 100 tonne or more. I commented that only a Moron would disturb the face of that. A year later and a death we see the mountain side slipping into the sea. We will press for Peter Garret to instigate an investigation into the whole process and fine or jail all those responsible for this act of vandalism. There is nothing that can be done to save this part of the mountain now. Its significant that the Drum Major KB sent his Lieutenant James to face the music, while he drank coffee at a nearby joint. Does that sound like fiddling while Rome Byrnes.

Anonymous said...

The False Cape environmental disaster should be fully investigated and documented. With increased rainfall expected in the Far North in the next few decades as part of global warming, environmentalists and engineers will have to factor in the increased water supply, ie in rivers, water cachement areas both on ground and underground. We will have large amounts of water lying around for longer periods. Our rivers will be fuller and may even change course.
Simple put, the land will change!
We cannot afford another disaster like False Cape.

Anonymous said...

Today we had on Mckenzie talkback Bob Norman trying to lay blame on the state gov for most of the development approvals here. I believe that this council put forward all the density increases and without community consultation, then anyone wanting to change back to res 1 had to apply to council, hardly state gov decisions, are you trying to save face of this council Bob?
Then almost instantly we had james on the phone saying he was misquoted etc by the cairns post and to appease McKenzie that the old queenslanders in cairns street cannot be removed for units. Talk about dragging out any supporters they can get in desperation and at the same time distorting the truth.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" points out the crisis situation looming in the hills above Palm Cove, up the Foley Road canyon. This has been a hidden environmental disaster, and I'm glad to see that others are bringing it to light.

The property was illegally bulldozed by Phil Hartweg, along with the adjoining house owned by Dr. Brian Buxton. This site has had numerous landslips and is washing out into Sweet Creek even as we speak.

Anonymous said...

Piccolo Cucina is indeed a fine restuarant. Did KB pay?

Some of the connections are the same as Villa in here ......

piccolo said...

^^ above comment
Mr Byrne does indeed pay, just like everyone else.

Piccolo Cucina has no "connections" to villa...thank you :)