Wednesday 29 April 2009

The Goose that layed the Golden egg is dead

Rob Williams, president of the Cairns Tropic Jazz Club, is a passionate advocate of saving our local heritage.

Following Councillor Alan Blake's justification for a tourism levy in Cairns, Williams says in a letter to the Cairns Post, that the Golden egg is dead, after years our destroying of CBD and it's once buoyant nightlife.

Alan Hudson (former Editor and now Letters interceptor) wrote back to Rob Williams: "We ask that letters be a maximum of about 150 words (see letters page footnote every day), Hudson says. "Your letter is more than twice that length. We’d be happy to consider it for publication if resubmitted in much shorter form. And it would be processed more readily."

"Well I thought about that Alan, but there is no way I can condense this into 150 words and still maintain the integrity of the piece," Rob Williams replied. "I will just have to be satisfied with it going on CairnsBlog! The bottom line is, that it matters not anyway. As Clive Skarrott of the Port Authority said, 'we'll all be dead in 20 years', or Desley Boyle said, 'the waterfront was only a mixture of old tin sheds'," Rob Williams says.

"Former Minister of Lands Russ Hinze, who died before they could convict him for taking a bribe to build the Hilton. The people of Cairns that pioneered the place up until 1980, have retracted to the suburbs, moved to the Tablelands, or gone South. Alan Hudson, you would know the score."

"It's Developers, 10. Cairns residents, Nil," Rob says.

[Footnote: Cr Alan Blake's letter is 213 words long]

    (Weekend Cairns Post 25th April 2009 )

  • Well, rally on Alan Blake, you will be doing it without me.

    My family and I emigrated to Cairns in 1978 and have watched as the Government and Councils of the day, have systematically destroyed the very things that attracted me to this place we call Cairns.

    I wasn’t the only one to want to make my home Cairns or Port Douglas either; there are thousands of us who stayed. Bit by bit, the Cairns Port Authority and the Council allowed privileged insider developers to take away the waterfront and our views of Trinity Inlet. Alan, you live in one of the very highrise apartments that obstruct and separate the people from the waterfront.

    Our visitors used to see us go to Upolu Cay in our boat, and swim in the crystal clear waters. Millions of tourists have effectively put an end to that. The Pier, Harbour Lights (or Blights as we call it), the Hilton and soon, another set of high rises effectively wall off the inlet from us, the people and residents of Cairns. Gone are the attractions that brought tourists and new residents here.

    Around 20 entertainment venues have been closed down because high rise development occupiers who incessantly complain about the noise of people having fun, and enjoying the tropical nightlife. But men like the Chairman of Cairns Ports said, "who cares, we will all be dead in 20 years!"

    The pristine rainforest has been savaged by developers such as those at False Cape, with no response or policing from your Council that you have served on for all the period of that horrible scare every tourist sees from the Esplanade. Green Island floats on a sewerage swamp with Fitzroy close behind. They are no longer visions of untouched wilderness.

    The Labor Party sold its soul to the greenies and now have to pay their dues by closing down recreational fishing areas. Other countries have managed their natural resources, but not here. The ratepayers of our region have paid dearly for the moguls promoting tourism and building high rise monoliths over the heritage that once existed here. Caravan Parks are slugged with rates and they are now a dying breed as 6 have vanished, or been sold off by your Council.

    I recall my rates were $500 and also had to pay for the sewerage to be connected. I always maintained tourists should pay for the water and sewerage they use, probably by a $10 a night bed tax. Why should they be freeloading on us, we were here before them?

    Hey Alan, probably 80,000 Cairns residents still hold a country town attitude and they want to keep it that way? Where you people went abysmally wrong was when you didn’t ask us what we wanted.

    It's all about you isn’t it? Desley Boyle once said to me, when I pleaded with her not to destroy our heritage Yacht Club building, that she and I didn’t see through the same eyes. She wanted to see Cairns as a replica of the Gold Coast, whilst more than a hundred thousand of us resisted it.

    The Goose that laid the Golden Eggs is dead Alan. You need to accept that.

    Tourists don’t want to leave the Gold Coast and other places like it to go to another place that looks the same. People who live in other centres will go to the Gold Coast, Sydney and Brisbane because that’s where all the artificial attractions have been built.

    So where are travellers going? They're going West. At least out there one can see places that reflect the real Queensland.

    Rally on Alan, and as you streak ahead this time, look back, don’t expect us to pay for it because you won’t see any of us following.

    Rob Williams

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