Saturday 12 July 2008

OUR CAMPAIGN: What do you loathe about Cairns?

You've probably seen the latest Cairns Post 'feel good' campaign... What we love about Cairns.

Every day or so now a touchy-feelie story appears with someones lovely tale about all things honky dory in our neck of the woods.

This was largely put together to tell the world that it's all good here... come back.. we are a nice place to visit.. as a reaction to the Qantas decision to cease some flights from Japan later this year.

As soon as I saw all the fluffy stories starting to be published, I knew I had to do something.

I was also prompted from a CairnsBlog reader who wrote to me...
  • "Happy Birthday CairnsBlog.. [we were a year old recently!] but party time is over!

    Why have you not done a story on the Cairns Post 'Why we love it up here' campaign???

    Mark Alexander from Cairns is on there, obviously!!! Gavin 'I hate shopping for shoes with my missus' King from Cairns is on there. Paul Gregory and Kirsten Lesina (visual amenity what????) are on there.

    Bloody hell, Val is on there and there is even a photo of her playing with her pussy on Machan's Beach!!!! If you don't believe me, here is the web.

    Come on Michael, I can't believe you're missing this stuff. It's just waiting to have the total piss taken out of it! I haven't laughed so much since Big Kev got ousted!

The Post's We Love it Here stories have their merit. When I read Berni McKean's contribution from Clifton Beach who's just returned to Cairns from cancer treatment in Bris Vegas, it made me think of Bev Barns and her 25-year-old son Josh. Many will know of Josh, or seen him around town.

His family moved up here a few years back because of the warmer climate, which is critical for Josh's survival. He's is a regular recipient of Intragam, a blood product that helps boost his immune system. When I was with the Red Cross Blood Service, I had the special joy of introducing Josh at St Augustine's end of year celebration, before several hundred students and their families, as he told his story how they'd helped save his life by donating blood.

Heck, even I contributed to the Post's campaign! Can you believe it? Now before you start calling me a turncoat or a flip-floper, my point was that we can so easily say what''s nice, and simply ignore or close our eyes and minds to other, more pressing issues.

So, I think they're missing the point.

Therefore today, I proudly launch our Why We Loathe it here campaign!

You can submit your nice fluff here to the Cairns Post, like I did, or tell everyone what really needs to happen in our region to make visitors come back. After all, that is the real objective of the Cairns Post campaign, and so is the objective of my What we Loathe about Cairns campaign.
Now don't get me wrong, this is not a negative campaign. Quite the contrary. The difference is, my campaign is frankly more honest. It acknowledges the things we all need to deal with as a community, to make it better, and take stock of where we're at.
It's all too easy to paint a rosy picture, and ignore our social and structural problems as a town. After all, we need at least a million visitors a year to survive, and a lot go away with a story that it's simply not worth coming back.
Just read Barry Neall's blog on the amount of crime in Cairns. He told me yesterday that the Police Minister Judy Spence doesn't think there's a problem up here, so he's off to Brissy to tell it to her face, at his own expense.

Here's some of the things that I loathe about Cairns...

- Street violence and assaults are out of control
- There's so many stories about the lack of respect for our heritage
- Tailgaters are a real problem around Cairns, especially in the city
- I've said it before, and I'll say it again, turn ya bloody fog-lights off!
- Politicians that promise one thing, then once elected betray their ideals
- Sno Bonneau. When are you going to talk with your people?
- Tourists that don't pay towards the costs of water and power
- Rate going up again! These Councillors couldn't even work out a family budget
- Dodgy developments. 4 story apartments alongside highways. What the?
- Total lack of respect and vision for our heritage by elected officials
- Town and community centres invented by developers, not those that live there!
- Bluewater at Trinity. What a disaster
- False Cape. What a mega disaster
- Supermarket parking. It's the worse thing on planet earth
- the price of a simple restaurant meal, almost everywhere, is aimed at some big fat tourist, not the locals

Well, there's some things to start the ball rolling. So, let everyone know what you loathe about it here.

Because, sooner or later, we need to make this place a whole lot better if we want the visitors to come back. They need to tell a better story when they get back to their home town, to become our 'marketing agents' so they'll tell others to visit our region, and maybe they can enjoy the reasons why we moved here in the first place.

Perception breeds reality. Unfortunately in Cairns at the moment, perception is the reality.


Anonymous said...

I loathe the fact that the yacht club is under threat. I have seen designs incorporating it into the new development as an inovative and interesting feature. What a great venue for the History Museum, that is presently too small and hidden away and missed by a lot of visitors.
And I loathe the fact that one of the most attractive corners in the city (Villa Romana) is to be changed and made ordinary. Why is everything in this town topsy turvey?
Leave the yacht club and the Aplin street corner alone.

Anonymous said...

I agree. We used to have an area on the Waterfront that was the envy of every Heritage place I ever visited. Its all gone. Replaced by loathsome highrise concrete piles of crap. How are they going to remove the backed up sewage from Harbour Lights when Global Warming cuts in?
I loathe the State Government for stealing the money from our Cairns Airport instead of allowing us to reduce our rates to $500 pa.

Anonymous said...

You can't get a decent latte anywhere! I'm thinking of moving back to Toorak!

Anonymous said...

Just driven down the Nard. Anonymous is right, the best dressed building that stands out from the shambles of eateries is the Aplin/Esplande corner. Time to start a petition to keep it as is.

Anonymous said...

The Night Markets have to be the most disgraceful thing about our city. Bring back the old ones, outside , dirt floor and open to the elements....what has taken their place is a tourist trap, expensive and not one bit authentic to Cairns. Being hounded to buy crap from awful stalls is not going to entice tourist back to our part of the world.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Backpackers have taken over our city,street violence is everywhere in the city as well as the suburbs,I would not walk about in town alone.Police need to be on the beat around all the streets in town.Police presence is urgently required in our city and pressure should be put on the State Government to increase their numbers

Anonymous said...

The fact that our prison was full years ago and the state govt haven't started building any more cells, which means that when the watchouse is full, the prison releases prisoners who are due to be relaesed in the next few weeks except for fine defaulters. They have to serve their full term.
So by the time any new cells are available in about 4 years time the streets of Cairns will be twice as dangerous as they are now.
And tailgaters.
And 99% of bosses.

Anonymous said...

The proliferation of traffic lights with time cycles better suited to Central Sydney than a town like Cairns.

Anonymous said...

I loathe the manners, disregard and rudeness displayed by Japanese cyclists. For those who come from a country priding itself on respect and ultra politeness how can they be so disrespectful to the road laws and the motorists of their host country. It is a major problem in the city and none of their language schools or employers seem to be stressing the importance of riding on the left, and that a red light means STOP. How about a road rules leaflet as soon as they get off the plane?
Mike, well done, you have opened a can or worms with this section of the blog. Lets hope that some of the problem issues being aired will be brought to the attention of those who are able to do something about them. Cairns is a wonderful place to live but there is always room for improvement.

Anonymous said...

While I wholeheartedly agree with the suggestion that there should be a leaflet setting out road rules for cyclists and given out to students and backpackers (and as they get off the plane is also a good idea), I'm sick of people singling out the Japanese. You see, it's a cultural thang, and I think most of them just don't realise that we have rules for cyclists here. I mean, they must see the way people drive, and think there are no rules for anyone at all on the road! In Japan, the cyclist is "god". You can go wherever you like and in whatever direction you want, and if a car should hit you, it's the driver's fault. Yes, illogical, I know, but as people who have lived there for any amount of time will know, there are many illogical laws in Japan, just like there are many illogical laws in Australia. It is very common to see a mother on a fully loaded shopping bike with TWO kids, AND no helmets! Oh my golly gee, just how do the Japanese survive??! A few years ago, the Japanese police were trying to make it law that cyclists ride ONLY on the pedestrian pavement. People do that anyway in Japan, but it was actually ILLEGAL to ride on the pavement, and just impossible to enforce due to the sheer number of cops they would need to do that. Anyway, Japanese cops have far more important things to do, such as guarding Chinese and South Korean embassies from right-wing nutcases, shaking down suspicious non-Japanese English teachers, and counting paper clips. Curiously, despite having enormously wide roads in Cairns, some people cycle on the pavement here, too. Must be trying to escape Cairns drivers, eh?
Greg Punshon of the Post is big on cracking down on Asian cyclists, too, only his target seems to encompass ALL Asian women. Well, wake up, look around. I've seen just as many "crackers" cycling the wrong way, without helmets/lights, etc. I called up Punshon months ago when he had a tirade in his column about this, and in his inimitable way, he assured me that the leaflets WERE out there, and not only that, he used to teach Asian students so he knows ALL about cultural differences. I think not, but that's just my opinion.
Anyway, you may have seen my cartoon on Mike's blog. I shall be doing these from time to time. Check them out. My name is Circusmouse and I am JUST getting started.

Anonymous said...

I loathe that,with complaints abounding at how untidy many of the shopfronts are around the city, and how business owners should spend some money improving them, we have one of the best looking frontages in the city, Villa Romana's, in the firing line for destruction. Why would any other business owner want to spend the money if this could be the result? On this corner is more footpath space and garden than anywhere along the rest of the Esplanade eateries,(go there yourself), there is sensible siting of chairs and tables where they are not exposed to the weather, and the tables and chairs are within the confines of the building, not spread at all angles and locations on the footpath as occurs further south of it. It also doesn't have service staff and patrons having to negotiate hot food and coffee through cigarette smokers and rubber-neckers as they stroll on that bit of footpath between the eatery and the outdoor tables, which, I might add, are next to parking and standing zones where vehicles spew exhaust over the patrons. What genius came up with that idea?
May I suggest to Mayor Val and the other (mostly rational) councillors, that they would better serve the people of Cairns and the users of the CBD by focussing on those things that are operating to our detriment. If you have a lust to bulldoze something, bulldoze that crappy mushroom in the mall (and take the mall with it). And get the partners in crime to leave the Cairns Yacht Club alone. Sign the petition!!

Anonymous said...

Circusmouse is correct on the cultural aspects of the cyclist in Japan. I was recently in Japan staying in the Asakura market area where cyclists predominate and mix with the pedestrians not the road traffic.

In fact I even saw a pedestrian crossing with a cycleway marked on the left side of the crossing. I didn't see any cycleways marked on roads.

In defence of Japanese respectfulness I found them the most helpful and cheerful of any nationality while I was abroad. Also, given the crime comments above, how wonderful it was to see thousands of bikes parked in the streets and none of them locked, even overnight outside houses. The few bikes I saw with locks weren't even using them!!!

Anonymous said...

I loathe the fact that the Mayor could be so vindictive, that in an email letter to this (previous)supporter, she lists as her Number One achievement in the first 100 days as the ability to destroy someone else's livelihood (along with their hardworking employees)ie knocking down the walls at Villa Romano. I am surprised that Robert Pyne would be supporting this, and Alan Blake as well. In fact any right thinking councillor.

Anonymous said...

Along with rude service and bad attitudes in shops and restaurants, I'd like to add to the "loathing list" the proliferation of restaurants trying to pass off sub-standard food as an authentic style of cuisine (French, Chinese, Italian, etc). I can think of less than 10 establishments in the city and surrounds to which you can safely take friends and know that you can count on the standard of produce and service.

And to add to the arseanl on The ComPost, it's laughable that their food reviews are always positive - I'm yet to read about a meal their reviewer didn't like! And I know that can't be the case as there are some truly diabolical "restaurants" in town.

Oh, and I'll add to the list the phrase "But it's Cairns". If I hear this pundit as an excuse for why things don't happen here one more time I'll implode! Just because it seems to be the case, doesn't make it right!

Anonymous said...

i agree with the food review comments "Piccolo Cucina" Service 9/10 what a joke!!


Anonymous said...

- Some positives & negatives:
- To Anonymous above - good lattes at L'Unico at Trinity Beach (lovely views too) & Perottas. I'm sure there are a few more if I think long enough. Perhaps you need a coffee rating post Mike? Mind you, there's a lot of VERY ordinary coffee being served hereabouts.
- Destruction of Yacht Club a BIG negative, & destruction of heritage buildings a huge negative. Remember that lovely little pair of shops next to Rusty's on the left-hand side. Gone. There should be a completely heritage survey of all remaining buildings in CRC area (yes, the WHOLE area) & legislation put in place to protect all these sites.
Re Yacht Club - if able to be saved, perhaps all the dance clubs in Cairns (& there are quite a few) could form some sort of collective & run it for their benefits?
- I actually don't find a lot of bad service & attitude in restaurants & shops - in fact, quite the reverse. I quite often find if a shop/outlet doesn't have the product I want, they'll suggest another business that does...very nice. However, young hospitality employees who aren't very skilled or knowledgeable about their product is a minus. This is up to the employers, as TAFE does a great job in their training courses.
- Yes, violence in the CBD & central Cairns suburbs. I really think a 3am cap on nightclubs is necessary, as is forcing the nightclubs to serve some sort of food. There's no way anyone can drink for hours on end with no food, & end up in a good state.
- Another related comment is the current leniency in court sentencing. I am not a punitive person at heart, in fact I'm more of a late-sipping bleeding heart, but some of the sentencing is shocking. Also the light sentencing when some drunken backpacker king-hits a local, & gets off with a fine. I think much firmer sentencing, a few days in jail if actual injury has been done to another should be mandatory. Might assist some of the backpakers to lift their game equal to that of their own countries.
- Finish off the blasted Botanical Gardens project, & reinstate a proper walking & biking track the whole length of Collins Ave (as used to be until the 'upgrade'). It does look lovely, but I'm sure former walkers/bikers are pissed off at the loss of this amenity. Also, reinstate the pedestrian crossing outside main gates - negative to have removed that. Not rocket science.
- Parking Nazis at Airport - get the buggers some proper training,in how to treat people & teach them how to help little old ladies & the disabled with their ports etc., rather than just waving their fine books at us. Also, they have recently made it more difficult for the disabled to access an easy drop-off point. Finish blasted 'upgrade' so we can have the car parking spaces back.
- "The Compost" - needs to get out of tabloid trash mode & return to being a factual, positive publication. Anyone for an e-petition to the Biggies at News Ltd. to get rid of Mark Alexander (& Gavin King too, whilst we're at it). I think their emphasis on the initial 9 pages of doom, death, disaster, train/car/truck crashes, domestic violence etc etc etc (ad nauseam) contributes a background of fear in the community. Yes, there IS violence, & this must be addressed, but I'm still happy to walk from the cinema/Civic Centre etc to go for coffee after a performance - keeping my wits about me, of course.
- Another negative has been the demise of several live music venues in the past year or so. This means more people crowding into the existing venues, often with differing musical/social needs, & means less people visitng the CBD at night, & possibility for more attacks. Cairns needs a complete music revitalisation - a model of the New Orleans of Oz wouldn't be bad. Also, new residential blocks in town are often a source of noise complaints to the remaining venues - this is something Council needs to attend to. Also, the Compost providing a proper fully gig guide wouldn't hurt.
- There used to be small taxi ranks outside most of the venues, rather than the single Lake St. drama venue as is now.
- Yes, tailgating (& speeding during the Wet especially) drive me nuts. I saw some bumper stickers a while ago "The Nearer You Come, The Slower I Go". Am thinking of having more printed. Sticker, anyone?
- I think it's important for Cairns & Region to have a complete overhaul of transport possibilities. Why not reinstate a light rail service from the CBD to the southern suburbs & get rid of a lot of cars? Why not maintain the cane tracks & start using them as public transport - they're only used a small part of the year for cane hauling, & weave their way through lots of areas. Imagine the tourist potential. Also, all freight that comes to the Far North by rail is offloaded onto trucks at Innisfail, & trucked elsewhere - meaning the Gillies & Kuranda Highways have to be used by large trucks. Reinstate Q-Rail freight haulage to go up to Kuranda, Mareeba, Atherton etc. Also - there are no passenger services to the above towns on Q-Rail. We might get a lot of traffic off the Kuranda road if we go that way. Also - how's a bout a ferry service from Cairns to Port Douglas - get a few more tourists off the Port Rd. OK citizens, who's up for a Total Transport Alliance.
- But generally, I do love living here, & you'd have to hogtie me to get me back Down South (I've been here 11 years now - only!!)

KitchenSlut said...

Lillian, try this for a coffee rating post with local content discovered earlier this year? The guy seems to know his stuff!

As he was good enough to link to my blog also I should really return the favour!

Anonymous said...

I hate the roar of Mulgrave Road which drowns out thinking from around 5.30am to 9.30am and again from 4.30pm to 6.30pm. I hate the pedestrian crossings in the city where cars consistently screech suddenly to a halt well over the pedestrian lines. I hate queueing up for half an hour to get some lunch in the CBD. I hate the crush of people at the Cairns Show. I hate having to book months ahead to see a medical specialist. Above all else, I hate the fools who all say, "Oh gee it is so nice up here, it's real laid back...but oh I hope they don't turn it into another Gold Coast."

Anonymous said...

I, too, find this "we're so laid-back up here" mantra to be quite bemusing. It seems that people around here seem to have shortened the word "relaxed" to "lax". And that's coming from someone who is not known for being a workaholic....

Anonymous said...

The tyranny of distance seems to be the excuse for poor manners, poor service , poor attitudes , poor reliablility , poor loyalty...should I go on ?
Oh yes and poor dress !
Thongs, stubbies , t shirts and the arse crack showing seems to be the national dress of Cairns blokes !
Dont even get me started on the teenage slutty looking tarts who wander the shopping centres!

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of whingers and whiners! Methinks you lot are bent on replacing the Poms.
Wake up, smell the frangipaniand enjoy what we have - or move on.
We who love the place (wants'n'all) really don't need all your negativity
JV at l'Attitude in Cairns

Anonymous said...

What do I loathe? Well I have lived here for 20 years and this place is now the pits. Back in 1989, Cairns City Council's slogan was - "The council that cares". My how things have changed. Higher rates, unchecked development, total lack of regard for wildlife in the area, councillors who have no ears or "selective hearing" when it comes to listening to voters...etc etc.
I don't blame Qantas in the least for pulling out of this god forsaken city. Dare I say it, but a visit to Townsville a few weeks ago showed me how much better that city is to Cairns. This was not always the case.

Anonymous said...

I really loathe the wallaby slaughter on our roads. The back road between the Campus Shopping Village and Yorkeys is literally paved with blood and fur. I'm seeing anything between 1 and 4 dead wallabies every night. (It would have been 5 on one occasion if I hadn't rescued a joey from its mother's pouch. PLEASE, if you hit a wallaby, check it for a baby). It's not that there are too many wallabies - they are just being pushed into smaller and smaller areas by rampant housing development along the northern beaches.
The stupid thing is that it can be avoided if we all just drive more carefully. I've been driving that back road most nights, at all hours between 6pm and 6 am, 2-3 times a night, for years and I haven't hit a wallaby or bandicoot yet. This is how it's done:
1. SLOW DOWN by 10-20 kmph. It's not the end of the world if you arrive a few minutes later. It might be the end for some furry critter if you don't.
2. Put your headlights up wherever possible. It's easy to spot them and the dazzle seems to freeze them (as long as you then slow down).
3. Don't stare down the middle of the road like a hypnotised rabbit down a gun barrel. Swing your gaze from one side of the road to the other so you see them on the grass verges. This habit is also useful for spotting little kids and pets before they run out onto suburban streets, or big roos, cattle and horses before they do the same on bush roads. You never know - it might save your life one day.

Anonymous said...

I love it here for many reasons,being a local of 42 years.
I love the way
. rubbish from building sites,industrial sites or a car ends up in the mangroves and polutes our reef. And nobody is held accountible!
. subdivisions/developers create a subdivision to the minimum standards in order to make profit, hand it over to the council/ratepayers who are left to pick up the tab to repair.
. it gets hot (duh!) and suddenly the poor dears need instant airconditioning/fans to survive. Never mind the frazzeled tradies whom are inundated with these type of calls.
. to those who dont know what that little lever thing is on there car steering column. And that it should be actually used prior to changing into a lane.
. drivers approach a roundabout, immediately stop at the give way line, then look. Never mind if they looked earlier they would realise there's no- one for miles around and that the ten cars backed up behind them didn't really need to brake heavilly.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of snivelling sooks. "Ooooo, I hate tailgating" ...."Nyeah nyeah I think Sno Bonneau is a knob"........"The traffic is noisy"...."Japanese cyclists don't respect us"......" ...."many of the shops are untidy". Untidy? What the?
Or the best one "I hate the crush of people at the Cairns Show".
You people need to wake up and smell the frangipanis and get off the wacky-baccy.

Anonymous said...

Crap transport infrastructure and no cycle paths.

I'd love to be able to cycle safely to the CBD but there's no chance.

$25 taxi fare from the CBD to White Rock? WTF?

John, Kuranda said...


You should try getting a cab to and from Kuranda; may only be a few kilometres from Cairns CBD as the crow flies, but its a world away in $$$$. Out of area fees apply so its usually around $140+ to and from the Airport.

Anonymous said...

Pfft, Cairns is a dump, there isn't anything a for a local to do,the cbd and night life sucks. I been here all my life and every year longer I spend at this place the more I find myself loathing it. Thank gawd I'm moving out soon.

Anonymous said...

I hate ordering a cab at around 2:00pm to be picked up at a specific location in a shopping centre car park next to an AusPost box at 4:40pm and the cab doesn't turn up.

At 4:55pm call cab company again asking for an ETA and apparently the driver turned up but there was no-one there?!? Strange because he couldn't possibly have been there without getting past me to start with! Cab company dispatching another car...

Called cab company back again at 5:15pm, advising that I need to get to mechanics to pick up car by 5:30pm or it will be locked up till next morning and I don't want to walk home in pouring rain; also point out that this is the third call including the original booking to get one cab?!?

Dispatching another car...

By 5:25pm I got the shits and called the garage where I had the car getting serviced apologising and ask if there's a guy there who would like a tallie of beer to come pick me up (should have been 50% of the cost of cab fare so I win in the end)?

Mechanic turns up inside 5 minutes very grateful and I get my car just before 5:30pm!

Maybe the $10.00 fare wasn't good enough? Cairns cabbies look like they are turning into Brisbane ones - too proud to accept a $10.00 fare. Mind you, they are dead on time for a $50.00 or thereabouts run to the airport, hmm....