Thursday 19 June 2008

Nowakowski angry at Govt

Steve Nowakowski, one of the four on board yesterday's helicopter crash at False Cape is angry over the Federal government for not taking action about the state of the flawed development earlier.

Yesterday morning environmental campaigners Steve Nowakowski, and Mark Buttrose, along with cameraman Drew Sinclair, were undertaking an aerial survey of the now largely damaged False Cape development site. They were piloted by Steve Phelps, who received two broken ankles.

The chopper was jointly chartered by Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) and a local hillslope protection group, Save our Slopes, aligned with Save False Cape campaign.

This flight was in preparation for a presentation about the current status about the now abandoned development site, to the Cairns Regional Council next Thursday afternoon.

In most of the media reports, they've simply missed the point. These people are representing a large group of concerned citizens sick and tired of State, Federal and local Council, not taking the action and governance we expect.

Nowakowski is a veteran campaigner for the environment. Coupled with his internationally recognised photographic skill, he has had a long interest in Queensland natural beauty. In 2003, after a 10 year labour of love, he published a special edition Hinchinbrook Island book. Recently, working with Daintree's Kuku Yalanji people, Steven published Yalanji Warranga Kaban about aboriginal culture and fire management.

Soon after the accident, Steve Nowakowshi, in the heat of the moment, of the told a television reporter that his campaign against the resort development was over.

"I've been to court, I've lost thousands of dollars, I nearly lost my life," he told Channel Ten. However, he now says he didn't not mean that.

"Sorry if I said on TV that I am finished with False Cape, Steven says. "I didn't mean it. Having your life nearly taken away this morning made me re-think a number of things."

Nowakowshi went on to explain "I still want to be in the campaign and help out with next week's meeting."

"If the Federal Government were doing their job and enforcing their legislation, then we wouldn't have to do what we are doing," he says angrily.

They say a picture can tell a thousand stories. In Steve's case, his pictures cost him $10,000 after he was issued with an injunction and damages claim by lawyers of the Reef Cove Resort developer. This was "for causing financial hardship by stopping work whilst photographing and documenting impacts at the False Cape site." Nowakowshi was involved in a 18 month court case after entering the development site, so that the wider public could see what was going on.

The False Cape site is a 40.6 development that had Council approval in a largely undeveloped area. The area contains much unique vegetation communities and endangered species. The site is also adjacent to both the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas and forms part of the natural scenic beauty of the Cairns Scenic Rim. Steven is but one of thousands who oppose the False Cape development.
  • "Hello from the walking dead.

    How we survived with no injuries is beyond me.

    The 'Sunrise' program want to interview me at 7:11am live on Channel 7. If I have the opportunity I will blast Garrett for not enforcing his own legislation and therefore others have to do the monitoring and reporting.

    Sorry if I said on TV that I am finished with False Cape. I didn't mean it. Having your life nearly taken away this morning made me re-think a number of things. I still want to be in the campaign and help out with next weeks meeting.

    If the Federal Govt. were doing their job and enforcing their legislation then we wouldn't have to do what we are doing.

    Thank you to Steve Ryan, Terry, Mark and Drew our video man and a big thanks to our chopper pilot Steve who managed to control the chopper to the best of his ability on the decent. The outcome could have been way worse. Way worse."

    - Steve Nowakowski

In an astonishing comment this morning from the developers of the land, Reef Cove Resort on the high-rise mecca Gold Coast, Vicki Knight said that their company had not given authorisation to anyone to conduct an aerial survey.

They obviously want no one to see what has been going on behind the locked gate. It appears as if they govern the airspace over False Cape as well.

Prior to the Council election in March, I along with Save False Cape's Terry Spackman,viewed the site first hand. We were shocked at how the land was left after CEC workers stopped work some weeks earlier.

Sediment traps were ineffective and all badly installed and damaged. Large exposed hillsides were let exposed. This was all at the height of the wet season rain. It was a man-made disaster that was orchestrated jointly by Federal Government and a Cairns City Council asleep and compliant with the developers wish to do what they want, when they want.

This is not the sort of publicity opponents need to raise attention to False Cape. However, it's about time that someone takes notice, and takes action.

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