Sunday 14 September 2008

An open letter to Val Schier

Bryan Law pens an open letter to our Mayor... and asks her to act now on behalf of the community that elected her.

Two weeks ago I wrote to Val Schier about the Yacht Club building in Wharf St, and Council’s responsibilities. I received no reply.

I got positive replies from Linda Cooper and Julia Leu. Councillor Di Forsyth is engaged with PADYC, and is coordinating a Council response with assistance from Paul Matthews and Wendy Richardson.

Last week I wrote again to Mayor Schier and her Councillors, and spoke to her personal assistant. I was asking for an opportunity to discuss the Yacht Club building with her. I found out that Val was going to be absent for the relevant meeting on 11 September. I got an e-mail response from Val on 9 September.

Deputy Mayor Margaret Cochrane chaired the 11the September meeting of the Cairns Regional Council's Planning and Environment Committee. Margaret allowed Di Forsyth’s motion to be put forward, seconded by Linda Cooper, and after wide debate that motion was put and carried by 6 votes to 4:-

    Moved Cr. FORSYTH / Seconded Cr. COOPER

    1. The Council communicate with the Premier of Queensland, the Transport Minister, the Treasurer and Chairman Cairns Ports as a matter of urgency requesting the proposed imminent demolition or removal of the Yacht Club building be put on hold.

    2. That a meeting be convened between Council, State Government, Cairns Ports, Indigenous and community representatives to identify planning issues, ongoing management and funding in relation to the retention of the Cairns Yacht Club Building on it’s current site to preserve and adapt the Cairns Yacht Club building for cultural and heritage tourism ventures as part of the waterfront development.

    3. That Council recognise the petition of more that 10,000 Queensland citizens, including around 8,000 residents from the Cairns Region requesting the retention of the Cairns Yacht Club building on its current waterfront site.

    Motion carried with Councillors Blake, Bonneau, Gregory and Lansky voting against.

What follows is an open letter to Mayor Val Schier, where I respond to her e-mail of 9th September, and encourage her to advocate successfully for a favourable resolution of the Yacht Club building/Cityport development issues.

From Mayor Val Schier to Bryan Law 11th September 2008.

  • Bryan,

    I monitor the comments going back and forth can assure you that I am working quietly to plant seeds and make a difference environmentally (sustainability, energy reduction targets, bike lanes etc).

    You know that I do not have a majority that supports my vision for the region the only option is to tread carefully and gradually get a change agenda up. Happy to talk further next time our paths cross. Val

From Bryan Law to Mayor Val Schier, 14th September 2008


As much as any human being I appreciate the quiet planting of seeds, and the evolution of culture in ecologically sustainable ways. I see evidence all around me that visions such as yours are now mainstream, and can be successfully acted upon. I expect everyone will act as best they can.

I’m asking you to act effectively now in seeking to preserve and adapt the Yacht Club building. As a community activist, I need to point out to you that in the matter of the Yacht Club building in Wharf St you are NOT in a minority. Think of yourself as part of the majority.

More than 10,000 residents of Queensland have signed the PADYC Petition. Some 8,500 of these reside in the Cairns municipal area. Their voices make a difference. A majority of your own Councillors have already resolved that Cairns Regional council intervene into the issue and seek a negotiated outcome with the Queensland government.

As Mayor, you have a golden opportunity to build support for your leadership and your vision by demonstrating how you can bring about solutions through skillful organising. Your job as Mayor is to organise with stakeholders, and bring them and their views before the Premier, Anna Bligh – and to bring Anna Bligh in front of the people of Cairns. We need to involve the Gimuy Idinjie. We need to convince Anna that a change in government plan is a GOOD thing.

Out of this process we’ll negotiate a solution that meets the legitimate needs of all stakeholders, including the substantial number of citizens who want Cairns heritage preserved on our town waterfront. It’s a pretty simple thing to do (and we can make the Port Authority pay for it).

You’ll remember that when you first ran for election as mayor in 2004 I questioned your ability to advocate for community groups against ALP political interests. I ran as an independent candidate against you and got 6.7% of the vote.

In 2008 I supported your election and took on faith an expectation that you would perform creditably (plus I just couldn’t stand Kevin Byrne any more).

Now you have an opportunity to live up to your side of the electoral bargain and put in a sterling effort at bending the will of a Queensland Premier. PADYC will support you. We can get 1,000 citizens to a meeting with the Premier.

Can you get such a meeting organised? We can help.

Now is the time Val. If you can’t get this done you’ll have lost my confidence as Mayor. You’ve got the job you wanted, and the office you wanted. Use it.



Anonymous said...

Val Schier replied in an e-mail this morning.

"Bryan, you gravely over-estimate the power of the Council and of myself! When none of the local state representatives, or all the protests over the years and recently, have been able to change the mind of Cairns Ports or the government, it is very surprising that you think that this new Council and I are going to be able to turn decisions around. I will do my best. Val"

PADYC, along with experienced community activists need to show Val how she has the capacity and support to be a successful advocate on our behalf. It's what we want. Val can do it!

Anonymous said...

I have freed up some time and plan to produce fewer videos and do more blogging.

Please Mrs Shier, save the Cairns Yacht Club.

Bryan Law is a hairy infidel, but that doesn't make him wrong about everything.