Friday 15 August 2008

Foiled on Foley Road

Do you see anything unusual in this photograph taken from the Argentea Housing Estate at Palm Cove?
Apart from the big pile of dirt in the foreground, that's reserved for infill so that they can build more houses on flood-prone land right down to the banks of Delaney’s Creek. However, that's a story for another day.
Just what is that brown scarring on the hills behind Palm Cove that is clearly visible, just 3 kilometres away at Argentea?
Well, its another Northern Beaches cowboy development. This time by Phil Hartwig.
My Northern Beaches Warrior reports that a few years ago Hartwig got approval for a nine house lots on steep land directly behind Palm Cove. And how did he got this approval is a very good question. Perhaps he was a good friend of our former Mayor? Maybe we'll never know.
Interestingly, currently before the Cairns Regional Council is another development application for a Reconfiguration of a Lot 1to divide into into 19 lots on a 9 hectare site directly below this one. The Council planner’s recommendation on this one is that this development application 'conflicts with the conservation, vegetation and waterway overlays of the CairnsPlan'. The creek is deemed Category 1, the highest classification, and it has significant vegetation and hillslopes code. However, they are refusing lots 13-18, but are approving lots 1-12 and lot 19.
As you can see from the photos, this developer has single-handedly destroyed this tropical rainforest area which must have once been cassowary habitat. You cannot imagine just how potential buyers will be able to build anything on these steep benched blocks which on average must be over 10m in height, excepting pole homes. Even then, the gradient would create huge landscaping and instability issues during the wet season.
What have our regulating bodies done about this situation that residents have been watching and reporting on for many months? Just like False Cape, the Council and the Department of Natural Resources and Water are well aware of the situation at Foley Road, Palm Cove. However, they have done nothing to prevent or penalise this developer for the total destruction of this land and the creek system which now has a bridge currently being built over it.
Where is our government’s environmental responsibility and accountability? In this time of of increasing and insurmountable climate change issues, we expect more. These government policies must be in Desley Boyle’s locked drawer, along with the heritage policies, State Coastal Management and Land Act policies, that have mysteriously disappeared when it comes to saving the Cairns Yacht Club and Upolu Esplanade at Clifton Beach.
Seeing this destruction for yourself is a must. The photos do not do it justice in terms of the scale and steepness of the site. Just drive up Foley Road as far as you can, then walk to the bend in the road for something truly unbelievable and alien in nature.
I will be bringing you some more photos of this site over the next few days.


Anonymous said...

Most people that know Phil would be locals
l do know him very well and for a lot of years
He was involved as a contractor at Red Peak estate development l do recall
He has been living in his house on the hill for 20 plus years Phil is a nice guy but his ethics on earthworks and development leave a lot to be desired He pretty done rough and ready as can be seen by the pics and the state of his site l dont see to many silt fences or enviromental measures in the pics

Anonymous said...

Say anon,

Is that the "LOCALS can fuck the environment over, their LOCALS" argument?

If that's the case, we should give George Chapman a pass for building the hideous, tasteless, prison-like Harbour Lights.

She'll be right, he's a LOCAL!

LOCO is more like it. Hartwig needs to be prosecuted.

Anonymous said...

I thought we were going to hear more of this story? This is an extremely important issue involving the future of our green hillslopes.

Why has nothing more been said or done?

Anonymous said...

Looks like Phils still clearing the hill !!
With his workpractices bordering with john Richardsons KenFrost l certainly wouldnt want to buy any of the blocks!
The work would be shoddy for sure and he gets away with it cause council has only a handful of development inspectors that are flat out inspecting 5-10% of development in the district and most of them are consultants being paid big $$$

Anonymous said...

The locals continue to monitor what is going on and photos are being taken at various time points up at Foley Road.
This matter has been reported to Department of Natural Resources, regional manager, but the silence is deafening out of this State Govt dept. I think this matter is in the too hard basket.

What we need is a moderate downpour and for the hillslope to come screaming down, then watch for much ducking under tables and blame gaming as to whose fault this is.

It borders on criminality when there is no accountability and people in these top Govt depts take no responsibility and seem to account to no one. They are happy to take their fat paychecks, but that is all they do. This is a widespread problem across Queensland state govt. depts such as health, education, EPA, DNR, Police and Dept. Of Families. They are all in crisis and not doing the jobs they are being paid to do or are unable to do their jobs properly because of lack of resourcing.

What do we do about it.........mmmm suggestions please, as locals have tried all levels of government, and pretty much to no avail.

Anonymous said...

We have already had hill slides here during prolonged wet seasons. People down below end up with tonnes of dirt, bricks, outhouses etc in their back yards. Same ole, same ole.