Thursday 24 July 2008

National Trust demands Council save Yacht building

The National Trust of Queensland has today urged the Cairns Regional Council to urgently add the Cairns Yacht Club to its heritage list, and preserve the historic waterfront building

In 2004 the National Trust listed the Yacht Club building on it's endangered list register. Heritage at Risk are formulated on behalf of its 80,000 members.

President of the National Trust, Dr John Jackson, has written to Mayor Val Schier, urging her Council to recognise the significance of the building to the local community and its importance in the history of Cairns. “The National Trust wants to be added to the list of names opposing its demolition and hopes the Cairns Regional Council will join the fight," Dr Jackson says.

“Cultural tourism is booming in other places and if Cairns continues to erode its own character, tourists will go elsewhere.”

The Cairns Regional Council voted yesterday to set up urgent talks with the Port Authority to review their plans for demolition, and investigate "re-adaptive use" of the building proposed by PADYC campaign group. The councillor who's Division encompasses the Yacht Club site, furniture businessman Alan Blake, does not support this latest move. Maybe if he sold some 1920's style period furniture, there may have been some synergy in this community campaign for him. Blake will also be invited to the public meeting next Saturday at the Yacht Club site.

The Cairns Yacht Club has been a social hub in Cairns for over 100 years, and has hosted sailing regattas, dances and weddings. It is one of few surviving examples of the relaxed ‘timber and tin’ tropical atmosphere that Cairns has been so famous for.

“It is time for the new regional councils all over Queensland to stand up for their local character and send a strong message to the Queensland Government that local heritage is important,” Dr Jackson said.

Three weeks ago a new group of concerned citizens from across the political divide formed PADYC (People Against Demolishing the Cairns Yacht Club). They launched a second petition for the State Government at the Cairns Show last week, which has already attracted just under 5,000 signatures, matching the one presented to the State Government in 2005.

The CEO of the Port Authority, Neil Quinn made his first public comment yesterday about their impending decision. "I want to assess the National Trust’s comments and the council’s decision before making a comment," he told the Cairns Post.

We now have a Council unanimous with the protection of the building. They have voted to engage the State Government to halt removing this unique piece of history. Council have also voted to engage the Port Authority to cease this action.

The Cairns community, over the last five years, have consistently demanded to retain the building and land for the community.

The National Trust of Australia has also called for this historic North Queensland icon to be preserved.

It is now the time for the Cairns Port Authority to wake up and take stock. Their action is nothing short of environmental vandalism.

  • A Public Rally and Community meeting will be held at the Cairns Yacht Club next Saturday 2nd August at 2pm.
    Significant speakers will be present, along with many invited politicians.


Wollongong Council Ninja said...

A puoorted "heritage listing" by the National Trust means nothing legally. In fact, the National Trust of Australia and its various state arms do not heritage list, they heritage "classify" and their heritage classifications have no legal or statutory significance. It is nothing more than a ruse designed by an organisation top heavy with professionals who make a living out of heritage. Is it any wonder they vote to heritage classify anything and everything? It is in their personal financial interests to do so. Anyone can join the National Trust by applying on line and anyone who is a member can vote on what should be heritage classified. They are not required to apply accepted heritage listing criteria such as the Burra Charter. The National Trust's heritage classifying any item is therefore nothing more valid than a popularity contest between members highly motivated to expand heritage. The only valid heritage classification is done by bodies with statutory powers who apply professionally accepted criteria. I hope the Mayor is not mislead by the deceptively named National Trust into thinking that because of their official sounding title, they actually have any genuine authority. Throw their letter into the bin and obtain proper information from reliable, not biased sources.

Anonymous said...

Ummm, there seems to be an anomaly in what you are puoorting here George?

You have said that the classifications from the National Trust are from a body "top heavy with professionals"?

Then you have said that "the only valid heritage classification is done by bodies with statutory powers who apply professionally accepted criteria"?

Ignoring your "big brother" totalitarian tendency that only outcomes from bodies with statutory powers are valid can you explain why the term 'professional' is bad when referring to the National Trust but good when referring to a statutory body which must also have its own self interests??

Anonymous said...

Hey George, Pulling the Burra Charter card was a mistake. No Government in Australia gives a second thought to that either. The National Trust is a group of people who feel strongly enough about Heritage to put their money where there mouth is. Of course we won't be putting any money into your pessimistic mouth George.

Anonymous said...

George seems to get a lot of facts wrong. The National Trust is a community body but it has impeccable heritage credentials. When Queensland began its Heritage Register in 1992, it just took over the Trust's Heritage Register, and the Qld Government takes notice of what the Trust says about heritage. No-one can "vote" to have something listed on the Trust's heritage register - places go before a committee with heritage expertise, just like the Queensland government's Heritage Register. The Burra Charter's heritage criteria are a bit outdated now - every government (and the National Trust) use heritage criteria based on the old Australian Heritage Commission's. The local branch of the National Trust nominated the CYC to the Queensland Heritage Register through its Chair, who just happens to lecture on heritage at JCU. Believe me, there's no lack of heritage expertise in the National Trust.
Anyway, I get sick of hearing how the CYC has no heritage value just because it didn't get on the State heritage register. That simply means it wouldn't be valued by people all over the State, just by the local community. Is the local community somehow unimportant? Should it be ignored just because someone in Maleny or Boulia hasn't heard of the CYC? Of course it's important. Every community has the right to preserve the heritage that is most dear to it, and let's hope the community's elected representatives are listening.