Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Gift Yacht Club and land - Deputy Mayor

In the strongest statement so far of the fight to save the Cairns Yacht Club building, the Deputy Mayor of the Cairns Regional Council says that building needs to be gifted to the people of Cairns.
Councillor Margaret Cochrane was representing the Mayor at the weekend's Yacht Club public meeting, where nearly 300 locals packed the historic venue. She pointed at a photograph of the Port Authority's model of City Port, from local historian Dr Tim Bottom's presentation.
"You see this," the Councillor said pointing to the area where the proposed high-rise is to be built on the site of the Yacht Club building. “This does not provide public space as stated, and in fact a high rise building on the site is likely to take up even more space than indicated.”
The meeting loudly proclaimed a desire to save the heritage building in a 11th hour bid.
The Deputy Mayor also reported about a presentation to the Cairns Regional Council last week by Port Authority officials. Council were informed that the decision to demolish the old Yacht Club building is commercial. "It purely a commercial decision," we were told Cr Cochrane said to the community meeting.
She said that the land the building should be gifted to the people of Cairns.
Councillor Cochrane also said that the original decision to demolish the Yacht Club building was made in 1997, purely on a commercial basis. “This comes as no surprise to us; we have always understood the motivation was to raise money by selling the site,” Margaret Cochrane said.
One surprise ally on the day was indigenous representative of the Gimuy Yidingi Clan, Seith Fourmile. He said that indigenous people had established rights in regard to the land the building stands on and needed to be consulted on this.
"More than anybody else, indigenous people understand the battle to save special places and we will be pursuing this angle with urgency,” Wendy Richardson of PADYC said. “We will be continuing our campaign to save this piece of history for as long as it takes. We would rather of course that the state government realises sooner than later that they are not dealing with a minority group, and the full weight of the local Council is behind this.

NOT MUCH CHEER: Five empty chairs reserved for the local Labor members of Parliament that did not attend Saturday's public meeting.


Anonymous said...

Cityport has always been about making money for the state government. All of the Cairns Ports land has been converted from Vested Lands to Freehold over the last few years so it can all be eventually sold off. This has happened with all Port Authority lands across the state.
The site that Harbour Lights now sits on (ex Tawny's Restaurant, service station and public boat-ramp) was sold to George Chapman and Honeycombes for around $22 million. The Yacht Club site will suffer the same fate, probably reaching around $30 million via public tender. This is a dubious process because I can guarantee you that the Hilton will get that land as they have always shown interest in acquiring it.
Therefore, the selling off of Cairns Port land over the next decade is a ready source of easy cash for the state government.
The Yacht Club debate is purely about economics. If it stays the government will lose around $30 million in lost revenue.
Therefore, the cost of our heritage at market value is $30 million.
I do hope that the Yacht Club will survive as I don't believe any price can be put on heritage, either cultural, environmental or historical.

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Back up a minute here. What?! "nearly 300 locals". Is that IT??! Wow, Cairns must REALLY love this building.
"they are not dealing with a minority group".
Oh yeah?
Are you telling me that this club has less than 300 members?

"and the full weight of the local Council is behind this".
Again, oh yeah?
Our local councilors are patting themselves on the back at a job well done. They've turned around that disappointment and rage about the rate increases (remember that?), and become the Cavalry by throwing their collective hats into saving the Yacht Club. Val and Maggie should be congratulated on playing you guys a treat. Do you realise that CRC will win either way? The Yacht Club is saved, Val will trumpet CRC's "contribution" all the way to the next election. If the Yacht Club goes down, "it's nothing to do with CRC, it's a State Government decision, blame them".

And that's not all. Let's really clutch at straws, and bring a local indigenous leader to bring "real" weight behind the issue. Well, looky here, the black man has a use after all-he's gonna save the white man's history.

Man, this whole farce reeks of hypocrisy, from the top down.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to hear with his business mind what Alan Blake has to say about the yacht club building on the mckenzie pollie time tomorrow at 10.15am

Anonymous said...

Circusmouse is suffering from the dreaded black plague. His messages are incoherent. Not that anyone knew what the hell he was raving about anyway.
No-one is trying to save the Cairns Yacht Club Sporting body, they do that on their own. The 5,000 plus signatures are about saving the building and turning it to a public use.

Anonymous said...

Alright Circusmouse, we know damn well there are some murky issues here, however, cutting through the murk and the crap, the Yachtie is WORTH saving. That is the only issue at stake, so naff off.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1

While recognising your support to maintain the Yacht Club building your suggestion of a $30 million cost is I believe incorrect and misleading.

The land area occupied by the Yacht Club itself is very small and nowhere near the size of the Harbour Lights block. The CPA may incorporate this site into a larger block which could approach that value, but the Yacht Club site itself is a fraction of that value.

CPA drawings also appear to show that development of the site will require substantial waterfront landfill of the current beach area. I would also suggest that this is an inferior development site to that architectural monstrosity,Harbour Lights, unless a higher building is intended.

Appropriate renewal of the waterfront which maintains the Yacht Club and contributes to the Cairns ambience would cost a small fraction of what you have suggested. The treatment of asset sales as 'revenue' may also be arguable.

Anonymous said...

The yacht club itself took the forty pieces of silver a long time ago. The issue is about the actual building. I, like many other locals didn't attend the meeting and will be unable to attend the rally but a lot of people I know would rather see an important part of Cairns history retained than another ugly block of flats for rich people closing up the waterfront like the ones on the other side of the Hilton.

Anonymous said...

Thansk "Thersites" for the information on the commercial value of the site. Something the Cairns Port Authority has issued worries me though and I can't help wondering if the Yacht Club land has ALREADY been sold, on the quiet, as part of a bigger package of land.

Anonymous said...

Yes circusmouse, I also wondered if they had lost a couple of zeros off the official head count. 300...oh please..whats the fuss if only 300 bother to turn up?

Is that the regular drinkers and smokers and gamblers from the club.........or was it 300 do-gooders who want to make a name for themselves????

Anonymous said...

So selective with your facts, grizzle-guts. What about the 5,000 plus signatures on the petition? You haven't mentioned that.
And what do you mean by "do-gooders"? Ahh, I see, those people who stand up for what they believe in, as distinct from sneering wankers like yourself who sit in dark corners criticising and jeering at the efforts of good people.

Anonymous said...

C'mon piggy ... I was a club regular back in 2004 when those "5000" signatures were collected.
The petition book was on the bar and before every visitor could order their first drink, they had to sign the book.
I would be correct in saying that 90% of those "5000" signatures were from visitors to Cairns, thirsty for a drink, not locals.
There is a lot of emotional B/S about this decayed old tin shed, frequented mainly by dole-bludgers, has-been muso's, druggies and protitutes!
Time to move on people.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts straight, Quickie. The people who signed the petition at the Cairns Show this year were ordinary decent citizens of Cairns who want to retain a little piece of history.

Anonymous said...

My oh my, some folks just seem to hate a successful campaign of any kind.

Quickie, the “5,000” signatures is closer to 7,000 now and has been collected in the past month from the Cairns Show, Envirofiesta, shops and workplaces. I spent a morning at the show and what struck me was the depth and breadth of support for the building’s preservation across the generations in Cairns. It’s this experience that tells me the issue can be won.

Another sign of this public support is the sensitivity of politicians like Steve Wettenhall and Desley Boyle who privately started talking compromise a week and a half ago, before Sieth Fourmile and margaret Cochrane got involved.

Circusmouse, I spoke to Sieth on the Saturday morning at Envirofiesta and he’s keen to locate some cultural activities at the community dance and music centre that the Yacht Club building will become. That isn’t “saving the white man’s heritage”, it’s meeting the contemporary needs of his people.

Grizzle guts, yes it was “only 300” people. On the other hand there are probably thousands like you who rehearse to themselves every morning the famous Australian line “What’s the use? There’s nothing I can do”. As a result of course you successfully do nothing and let anyone with coin or influence walk all over you. Like, I’m so jealous of your wisdom (not).

Give me folk who’ll have a go. Anytime. Cairns Ports is now seeking compromise. Politicians are listening. Ordinary folk are becoming active. You’ll never know what you can achieve until you try so please stop being pathetic ans set a better example for your kids and community than you seem to be so far.

Anonymous said...

Piggie ... if the CPA had set up a stall with displays of the completed boardwalk from the Pier through to the new overseas terminal.
And if the CPA had asked showgoers if they were in favour of this work being completed and not hindered by a rusty old corrugated iron clad shed.
Then they would have recieved 10000 signitures.

Anonymous said...


You just dont get it do you.....

Had those 7000 people bothered to turn up yes..you could claim victory...but 300...come on.

Oh and some of us couldnt be there BECAUSE WE WORK FOR A LIVING !!!

Quickie you hit the nail on the head...rusty old tin shed.

Some people need more to occupy their time rather than red necking about everything.

Anonymous said...


So why didnt the CPA do just that?

What you have suggested may be somewhat problematic however as their own propoganda material just doesnt match in with what you have said?

Has public access beyond the current boardwalk been confirmed? If so this will require expensive waterfront landfill at public expense wont it?

How does the shed, whether rusty or reinvigorated, hinder any passing traffic?

Mate, you are just an incorrigible old barefaced liar but thats what we expect from anyone with the fraudulent acronym 'quick'?

Anonymous said...

Quickie, Not only are you dreaming but you are also a liar. The first 5,000 signatures were collected across town by many willing workers. There was NEVER a pad in the CYC because the Commodore would not allow us to canvass inside the building. Get your facts right or shut the hell up.

Anonymous said...

Bollocks Bungy ... you stretch the truth as your name suggests.
That pad was there for weeks and weeks.
I used to think it was incredible that the committee allowed it to be there. I mean, on one hand they were negotiating the best deal they could get with the CPA ... and on the other hand, collecting petition signatures to fight the CPA.
I guess it was Commodore vs Vice Commodore.

Anonymous said...

would like to see see the old Cairns Yacht Club clubhouse replaced by a giant gold statue of Keanu Reeves. PWABWTFSB also wonders whether people sign a petition for this?

Anonymous said...

I'm more than ever convinced now that the land has already been sold. I think there was political interference in the original heritage listing, and the Cairns Ports Authority in conjunction with the State Government have sold the land on which the Yachtie stands, some time ago. It is a fait accomplait. I also believe the local State Members know the land has been sold which is why they are so keen to remove the Club to "another site." Frankly, the whole issue stinks of skulduggery and political chicanery of the worst order.