Friday 3 April 2009

False bleeding heart for dodgy developer

In January last year, I videod Terry Spackman and Mark Buttrose, when we carried out a citizen's inspection of the False Cape site at East Trinity.
The footage was another nail in the coffin of the badly managed site and exposed why the development should never been approved. This lobbying showed lazy Council and State Environmental officers what was going on at the abandoned development site.
However, this morning the Cairns Post reports that False Cape developer, John Ewens of Reef Cove Resorts, has appealed to Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to overturn his ban to continue working on the site.
Reportedly, Ewens has failed to pay his Cairns Regional Council rates, along with a $150,000 clean up bill he owes. It appears that one of the considerations Federal Environment Minister Garret is thinking about, is Ewens financial situation.
"The minister can lift the suspension if he is satisfied that the site no longer poses a risk to the heritage area and that the company can meet its approval conditions," the spokesman told the Cairns Post. "The company has asked for the suspension to be lifted so it can secure finance. The department is now assessing this request before it can send a recommendation to the minister."
Mark Buttrose, who unsuccessfully ran for Cairns Council with Val Schier's Cairns 1st team, wants the Regional Council to foreclose on the Reef Cove Resort, as it has done other property owners who failed to pay overdue rates.
"We would urge the Council to exercise their right to sell the property to recoup the cost of remediation," Buttrose told the Cairns Post. "That would allow for the State and Federal governments to get involved and return the land to its proper use."
The three videos showed a ruined and damaged landscape, that had sustained substantial sediment run-off as a result of little or no traps to manage the land soil movement.
"Why be kind to this bloke, that is my question," environmental activist Terry Spackman told CairnsBlog said this morning. "We can see what he's done, Ewens has disregarding the environment and disregarded all environmental impact laws."
"He's flouted Council development approvals, the State Environmental Protection Act and even the Federal environmental laws. Even worse, he's disregarded the local people's opposition to this development," Spackman says.
"He still havent been fined, and should have been prosecuted for what he has done. What a joke that he wants support to continue damaging this site," Terry Spackman says.
Mark Buttrose believes that Council Officers are still out of step with the will of the community.
"We have just seen an application for Tognolini, a Redlynch hillside developer, and the entire Council voted against it, yet Council officers recommended and wanted to negotiate opposite with the land developer," Buttrose told CairnsBlog. "They are out of step with what the community wants and seem unable to change the way they do business."
A Save our Slopes deputation to Council last year, appears to have not had any impact or change within the Council's Environmental and Planning departments. "I'm very disappointed in this. I raised this with the Mayor recently and she confirmed that nothing has happened from this report yet."
Mark Buttrose says the False Cape development has been handled appallingly. "If they get away with this, it will say to anyone that it's OK, 'you can do this and won't have any repercussions'," he said.


Steven Nowakowski said...

The Mayor and Councillors were voted in at the last election with a clear mandate to protect hillslopes and the environment. People were sick of the big end of town dictating how this once beautiful city was evolving.

We now need the Mayor and Councillors to live up to the expectations of their voters and constituents and do everything humanly possible to destroy this False Cape development. The Yarrabah community are now united in opposing this development as well as the Cairns Community. We now need local, state and federal govts to work out how the site can be given back to its respectful owners which was snatched off them in WWII. The easiest way to do this is to foreclose on the developer for not paying rates. This has no legal ramifications and is a clean and simple way to stop this development.

The Mayor and councilors must go to the next election with a list of their achievements whilst in office. Besides other operational improvements, key issues must be won and presented to voters in three years time. These issues could include a final cessation of hillslope development and a change of use for False Cape amongst other keystone issues.

T. Asquith said...

We should be encouraged that Council has seemingly drawn a line in the sand re further inappropriate hillslope development (in Redlynch). However, False Cape is the litmus test.
If, after perpetrating the greatest environmental vandalism in years, this project can again get the green light, we may as well welcome back Byrne (the devil we know), outsource Planning to Hedley, with Works to CEC.

JudeJohnston said...

Isn't "Planning" already outsourced?