Friday 10 October 2008

Foley Road makes it to TV

Last evening, Channel 7 TV covered our Foley Road sediment disaster story, that we've been pushing for the last two months.

This is the first 'mainstream' media to report of this unfolding mess, and hold land owner Phil Hartwig to account.

Yesterday morning, Cairns Regional Council's town planner Peter Tabulo and Mayor Val Schier were on ABC Far North's radio. The new Pat Morrish, Fiona Sewell, interviewed these two influential players, with one of the softest line of questioning I've ever heard on ABC. Now I like Fiona, and she's a great temp replacement for Pat, but on this occasion, she let these guys off the hook. Tabulo is a skilled operator and handles the media well. He's a better politician that the elected ones.

On the other hand, Val talked in soft touchy feely sentences and platitudes that didn't invigorate or make me feel she was there for a total change in the way Council will to do business with developers. Lack of controls by developers and policing is a massive subject on the local agenda presently. Just weeks ago we've had the Federal Environment Minister intervene in what can only be described as one of Queensland's worst and most poorly managed Council-approved developments. The False Cape debacle should have sent shock waves right through the core of Council's planning department. But you read Peter Tabulo's response for my call to investigate Foley Road the other day, and you'll see that Council are confused about their role and ability to take this role bestowed with great seriousness.

When False Cape was raised on ABC Far North, both Schier and Tabulo were not put on the spot to give specific answers about what is happening across the harbour at East Trinity. Not one bit of work has actually started to prepare and protect the vastly exposed land on the False Cape site. The Wet Season has already sent a few early warning sign, as Terry Spackman and myself witnessed at Palm Cove's Foley Road 6 days ago.

The story on Channel 7, by contrast to ABC, explained the serious problem that I've documented, and also included the video I filmed of Terry Spackman, who is now referred to as an "environmentalist". Last week he was an "activist", after sitting on some old roof all morning. I'm just pleased to be part of a unique Odd Couple.

If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favour and watch the video we shot last Saturday morning. It's direct and sends a powerful message for Council to act. Compare it to the first video I filmed four weeks prior, then ask you why Council staff couldn't see any problem when they 'visited' the area on Monday.

There is also a groundswell forming to lobby Council to not spend a cent of ratepayer's money to fix up the False Cape problem. We want the developer who created this mess, John Ewens, to undertake and put up the money, or lose the land.

As a footnote, it looks as if the False Cape contractor CEC, will have to come up with $80 million dollars by the end of the month if they are to remain solvent. Not very likely.


Anonymous said...

Yesterday, I too heard Mr Tabulo speaking on the ABC radio program. He was introduced as the General Manager of Planning and the Environment.

I prefer to call him the GM for the Destruction of the Environment, after all, actions speak louder than words, and the next damming photos of what is going on at Argentea, just go to prove my point, again, again, again, again, again for what is being allowed to happen on the Northern Beaches.

We all have to ask ourselves, is this man, actually sane or is he just incompetent?

Shame on YOU Tabulo, Shame on YOU! Shame on this Council, and Shame on Sno Bonneau (afterall, he was the Councillor, when Foley and Argentea were given the green lights.

Anonymous said...

The False Cape debacle is back at the Planning & Environment Meeting this week.
After the “smoke and mirrors” about the $640k bank guarantee, we find out that it is actually a 20 year old bank (which bank) guarantee held by a third party. A quick search for this Company, Nicrose Pty Ltd, on the ASIC website comes up with a “no match”. It is all very well for Council to put a “charge” against the land, however how many other charges are registered against the land and how far down the “pecking order” will Council be? How does this guarantee that the Ratepayers will be reimbursed for these expenses, plus interest it is hoped, without going through a long and costly mortgagee sale of the property, assuming someone will want to buy it in the future. Questions need to be asked as to why Council accepted a 20 year old bank guarantee from a company that does not appear to be registered in Australia. The Developer should be footing this bill not the Ratepayer. Council must be diligent in ensuring proper protections are in place for the Ratepayers. Any future dealings with Developers, before rubber stamping any DA’s, the cold hard cash must be in the Council Coffers.