Friday 18 April 2008

Val, act now or don't redecorate

Many believe, while the our famous and historic Yacht Club on the Cairns waterfront, known as The Aquatic, still stands, it's worth fighting for. I certainly do. CairnsBlog has now followed this fight for a long time.

The Cairns 1st team, under the leadership of Val Schier, were elected on policies of saving and preserving our heritage. Maybe this is were her leadership could be directed with some sense of urgency.

In fact her policy was to "maintain a natural and cultural heritage register and actively protect those places that are important to our community."

It is clear that there is considerable concern in the community about the way in which the previous Council neglected the majority wishes by not supporting the retention of the Yacht Club building, as a significant cultural and landmark of Cairns.

If Mayor Schier wants to serve more than one term, and I presume she does, this would be a grand way she could show us all that she is serious about representing the community.

Schier should write to the Minister and Premier this week and request and order a full investigation into the last Council's lack of representation of it's community on the Yacht Club building destruction. Schier also needs to request the Premier look into why the Heritage Council's decision on the building was flawed and not at all democratic. She needs to engage the Premier on why the Cairns Port Authority mislead and cohered the then Yacht Club Committee in a forced agreement that they felt pressed into signing.

Steve Wettenhall has already said that we should "now put the Yacht Club issue behind u s and get on with promoting Cairns as the New Orleans of the Southern hemisphere tropics.” Why can't the Yacht Club building and location be part of 'the New Orleans of the Southern hemisphere'?

I attended many debates and meetings during the election campaign where Cairns 1st and Val Schier trumpeted the rebuilding of the inner-city with entertainment and a vibrant music city.

It's important that the new Mayor acts promptly on this as the Cairns Port Authority is soon to loose its own authority. Their power base will be carved up as they are about to go into a sale process for the Cairns Airport. Their operating budget will be striped by 75% to under $20 million. With their future uncertain, their mandate to re-develop the waterfront of Trinity Wharf should be urgently called into question.

Here's an open letter to Steve Wettenhall, Member for Barron River, from the Rob Williams, who for many years has been involved with the Cairns Jazz club at the Yacht Club.

  • Dear Stephen,

    I often wonder how much information a Politician uses to make decisions that adversely affect so many people.

    When they do make a decision they know will hurt, they must have some mechanism that allows them into a state of denial. Otherwise how can they face the people who had faith in them?

    It really lets us down when politicians make some lousy excuse on why they lack the courage and fortitude to fight for the cause of the people.

    Political expediency sucks doesn’t it?.

    Here are some facts that may surprise you...

    1. The ONLY reason the Jazz Club moved out of the Cairns Yacht Club, (the Aquatic,) after fighting your Government for 5 years, was because your Government considers money above the wishes and feelings of the people whose Grandparents and Parents built this place...

    2. We know why you are doing this. It’s because your Government is bankrupt. Not only from a monetary point of view but also morally. Otherwise why sell off the Airports, Schools and any other land and anything that isn’t nailed down.

    3. Your government is hell bent on destroying this last bastion of Cairns Heritage – The Aquatic.

    4. We have the list of perpetrators and your name is on it along with Boyle, Bligh, Lucas, MacEnroth, Byrne, and others. These names with photographs make up the prologue to our book. (“At the Aquatic. MkII).

    5. Stephen, the ONLY way to redemption is to stand up and be counted.

    6. As the President of the Cairns Tropic Jazz Club Inc. I had to make a decision.

    7. That was to stay at the Cairns Yacht Club till the last minute and risk my members being involved in a blood bath that may follow when the Aquatic is demolished or

    8. Move to a new venue.

    9. For your information we considered 65 possible venues in this City until one night Graeme Davidson appeared in the Yacht Club and offered the Tigers Den as another possibility.

    10. I and five other Jazz Club Committee had a look. After some discussion we thought this place could be useful although it lacked the History, Area, Dance floor and aspects of the Aquatic building.

    11. We agreed to go there and the Cairns Tropic Jazz Club paid for and built the stage, put in the lights, erected the backdrop and assisted with widening the wooden dance floor to a size that we thought would suffice.

    12. We installed our own PA Amp and Speakers, Microphones etc .

    13. None of this had anything whatsoever to do with the PALM movement or Ray Elias.

    14. We introduced the North Cairns AFL to what we required with regards to servicing our patrons with liquor and amenities and even arranged a barman to help with prices etc. The people are marvellous.

    15. On Thursday 3rd April our people decorated the premises, which we left in place for what we understood was going to be the launch of a country and Western CD the following night.

    16. We were surprised when we learned it was “The Official Opening” and knew nothing of your attendance to same. We were not invited and we have never met the Minister for Arts.

    17. As far as the Aquatic Building is concerned, I don’t think you understand that there are at least 5,000 people out here including myself who have not had a spiritual closing on this matter.

    18. I don’t know if I have dissuaded them not to lay in front of the bulldozers, but many have said they would do that.

    19. Many of them also say they are willing to mount a class action against you to reclaim the massive losses and mental anguish that we will and have suffered already.

    20. Your statement “Let us now put the Yacht Club issue behind us and get on with promoting Cairns as the New Orleans of the Southern hemisphere tropics” demonstrates that you have no concept of our feelings towards this place, which is really a shrine of remembrance for the people who built this City.

    21. Like Bjeke Petersen’s demolition of the Belleview destroyed his government, I and my colleges would think the day the destruction of the Historical (CYC) Aquatic brought your government down was poetic Justice.

    22. Steven, you said you were passionate, let us test that shall we.

    23. On ANZAC Day we will be remembering the 150 Aquatic Club members who went to fight in WW1 and WW2 for what they believed in. They went to fight to save this country, their loved ones and their way of life which included the Aquatic Club. They had put their blood and sweat into that..

    24. The Aquatic Building was a hub and a lynchpin, for the fabric of Cairns City and the whole of North Queensland.

    25. In fact if you care to see what they did in 1917 you will know the dedication, passion and absolute unselfishness of these men and women.

    26. As a former soldier myself, I can imagine them joking about the mud up to their waist and likening that to when they used to launch their skiffs into Trinity before they built the ramp. This would have allowed them to help cope with the knowledge that at any moment they or their mates could be blown to pieces by a 3” mortar bomb or downed by an enemy bullet.

    27. They mistakenly believed that politicians and government would honour their sacrifices and went unequivocally to fight. 20 of them died.

    28. On ANZAC DAY I will be placing a wreath on the beach in front of the Aquatic I invite you to be there.

    Lest We Forget.

    Rob Williams JP (Qual.)
    28 Lake Placid Road


Anonymous said...

This will be an interesting test of Val's sincerity and integrity, yes.

Anonymous said...

"get on with promoting Cairns as the New Orleans of the Southern Hemisphere tropics.”

Hmmm, thats an interesting comparison from Wettenhall given the cyclonic devestation of New Orleans and his support for the decision this week to maintain and expand all medical facilities in Cairns where they will be useless should a similar event happen here!

Lets hope not, but who will take responsibility if, as a consequence, lives are lost Steve?

Sorry for digression, go the Yacht Club love to still see it there!!

Anonymous said...

Of course the"Aquatic" should be saved,preety much the whole of Cairns history has been involved with this building.More waterfront high-rise and the continual loss of public parking will be the final nail in the coffin for public and tourist use of the CBD.

No doubt Desley Boyle and her Brisbane mates will continue to feed us more bullshit about ways we can improve on the falling tourism numbers as they sell the farm. But the greater majority of locals have already voted on the Aquatic remaining and have quite simply been ignored by our bankrupt Brisbane rulers.

Anonymous said...

0f course Val must act now to take steps to retain the Yacht Club.If the Council does not at least make an attempt to save the Club,the people of Cairns will lose all respect for the Council.People are already annoyed with the way Council took the highest salaries
available,then went on a bonding rort to Palm Cove as well as still
continuing to fund Advance Cairns
with ratepayers funds.It is to be hoped Val and her team see the light,otherwise it is going to be lights out for them all.cxqgbei

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon,Val must take this matter of the Yacht Club to the highest authority without delay.
If this matter is not looked into immediately,it will be to late to save the Club.
One other matter Val should look into,is the Cairns Water fiasco,
water should not be rationed in Cairns,the heart of the matter is that Cairns Water is simply a cash cow for our Council.Not only should
all our run off water be harnessed,
we also have access to the Tinaroo Dam if required.Cairns Water was set up by Byrne in order to rip off residents.

Anonymous said...

Come on Val, leave the CYC where it is so myslef and other young people can catch a glimpse into the past that is becoming harder to see through all the 'high rise, concrete monstrosity's'.

It's our town and we want it back!

Anonymous said...

(To the anon above)

Well, mate, pretty sure I'd be younger than you, and while I agree the Yacht Club is beautiful, and I hope I won't have the chance to sorely miss it - the 'concrete monstrosity's' (god it hurt not to correct your spelling) you refer to are our future. Get used to it.. Val will be short term, and even in that time, bad for Cairns.

Get past the views of the southern state imports and retirees that have come to Cairns bitching about development and realise where your future lies.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tyson, I dont think it is the southern state imports or retirees that are bitching about development but rather locals who have enjoyed the laid back community and charm of Cairns.Most imports as you describe them would be used to traffic snarls,road congestion, the attendant pollution,lack of parking and a myriad of other problems associated with living in a so called progressive city.Val has made a lot of noise about good tropical design and retaining our heritage and a good place to start would be the old Aquatic.So called heritage areas such as Paramatta Park should be left at the least without allowing for the well known "material change of use" provision so readily used by the Byrne team in the past to destroy the character of Cairns.Time will tell if Val is just another Labour stooge really representing developer donations or maybe the voting community.

Anonymous said...

Tyson your comments infuriated me as much as the recent 4 Corners exposé on links between developers and various Labor Party officials and councillors. People consumed by greed and power and utterly devoid of morals, ethics or conscience and all in the name of development and progress and to hell with the effects or consequences.

We don’t have to accept corruption just as we don’t have to accept or get used to “concrete monstrosities” in our future. We can choose to do things differently. Sustainable and environmentally friendly and sensitive development is possible. That’s where our future lies and if you talked to tourists and visitors as Northern Beach locals do, you might just get it. Better still, take a cruise down “Glencorps Way” formerly known as Clifton Road, and you might just appreciate what locals are up in arms about. This massive concentration of development will have an enormous impact on residents and the local community who will have to live and deal with the effects and consequences forever. It’s also about to get worse with yet another 4 and 5 level complex development on the same short stretch. That’s reality.

It is also reality that the Cairns Yacht Club is an important part of Cairns history which is why it was identified and designated as an “area of State significance” (cultural heritage) under the Wet Tropical Coast Regional Coastal Management Plan and accordingly was to be valued, conserved and protected from incompatible development. That it hasn’t been, is an absolute disgrace equally shared by our former Council and the State government. They both had a statutory duty to reflect the intent of the plan in their policies and decisions and to ensure that decisions concerning “cultural heritage” were undertaken with the involvement of the relevant members of the community i.e., the Cairns community.

Anonymous said...

Bugger off Tyson from this site.

You have nothing intelligent to say and are clearly out of step with what's going on in this town.

Why don't you go over to Double Island and laze around with KB. I am sure he'd be pleased to see you seeing as he is so down in the dumps and cannot understand why he lost the election - for which the Northern Beaches and its issues claim credit. You two can get on the same wavelength over there and not affect anyone whatsoever with your stupid bleatings!

Anonymous said...

You speak for me Anonymous (7) above, as I am sure you do for the majority of people out in the Northern Beaches.
I am not a Retiree, but Tyson sounds like he might be the "I want it now" Generation.