Monday 24 March 2008

False Cape still in ruin

Prior to the Council elections, I was extremely concerned with the devastation from the abandoned works at the False Cape development site.

I was pleased to provide exclusive video footage of the environmental destruction on the site.

Late last week, Coates Hire removed the construction site office from the property.

Local Councillor Paul Gregory, who was returned unopposed at the Council election, has in the past attended the local Koombal ratepayers meetings, along with Council's town planner Peter Tabulo. He was very supportive of the False Cape development at the time. When questioned why the Council was giving the Esplanade away to the developer for the site access road, they were informed that they could change the name of the area given away to road reserve, or whatever else they liked, and therefore not give "esplanade" away.

Over the last three months, the wet season rainfall has caused havoc and the newly exposed roads and house sites have taken the full effect of the elements.

Boulders the size of houses are simply falling down the hillside, exposing more hill slopes to substantial sediment run-off. The sediment control traps are now totally ineffective. Although the previous Cairns City Council, under the guidance of town planner Peter Tabulo, said the site was being monitored, there has been no prevention action undertaken on the kilometer-long construction site.

Former Deputy Mayor Terry James was also vague if the $650,000 bond was held in trust with the National Australia Bank, after asked where the money was at the Sustainability Forum three weeks ago.

Natural Solutions were touted as the 'independent' erosion and sediment control officers who the Department of the Environment and Water Resources (formally DEH) have contracted to look at False Cape, however this is not known to be the case. There is concern that Natural Solutions are not an environmentally conscious organisation, as they have been in bed with the False Cape developer, John Ewens, since day one. Activists following the collapse of construction and the aftermath since the site was abandoned, would like to see a truly independent officer look at the site.

Natural Solutions are also part of the C&B Group. Former Deputy Mayor Terry James' brother, Peter James, who is the CEO of Conics (previously C&B). C&B are the planners responsible for the False Cape development.

Save False Cape activists will be meeting with Local Government Minister Warren Pitt, this Friday.

Fixing up this mess is going to be the first real test of the new Schier-led Cairns Regional Council. She has inherited a substantial and complicated problem, made all the more messy by a complicit previous administration that did not act with vigilance and with the environment uppermost in it's planning mind. The Council's allowance of wet season works has exacerbated the erosion and sediment run-off destruction.

Some have suggested that a post-grad student could do a great thesis on the failure of government and the environmental judicial system in regards to False Cape. Sadly, I think they're right.

Here's some photos that Terry Spackman has taken over the last few days. They show the entire site is now falling apart and is dangerously unstable.


Anonymous said...

Only last week, we had Matthew Byrne (from Argentea and the Urban Development Institue of Australia), talking up how developers in Cairns wanted to work with the new Cairns Regional Council to develop "responsibly and sustainably."

As evidenced by False Cape activities, what they say and what they do are two very different things!

Anonymous said...

The False Cape fiasco just confirms what most of us who've worked with the Cairns council's development department already know - Peter Tabulo has been Kevin Byrne's chief henchman in pushing substandard developments thru council. He's also been the architect of the Cairns Plan, that has been designed with loopholes that Hedley, Jattke, and other developers can drive a truck thru.

It's Peter Tabulo that must be replaced as new council's first order of business.

Anonymous said...

No response to phone calls or Email to Judith Lawrence ... Hello Judith, as you know have been unable to reach John Hawkes, acting CEO, or Noel Briggs, Chief Financial Officer.

Please, before 4 pm today, by email, forward evidence of the bank account/s where the two bonds are deposited.

All best

John Babet - Spokesperson Cairns Ratepayers Action Group
12.49 pm Thur 13 March 2008

Anonymous said...

So Paul Gregory ultimately wasn't held accountible by the public. Wonder what sort of message this is sending out? Yes, indeed, a post-grad student could do a great thesis on the failure of government and the environmental judicial system in regards to False Cape. Trouble is, academic works today reflect whatever is most popular with tutors or media crusading. Our universities are not churning out thinkers so much as parrots.

Anonymous said...

"Wonder what sort of message this is sending out?"

Hardly Paul Gregory's fault that no one else could be bothered to stand against him.

The message is that whilst there's a lot of whingers, there's not many willing to put their money where their mouth is.