Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Developer GlenCorp owns this waterway now

...and today

This is what has happened to Deadman's Creek, a natural waterway at Clifton Beach, to allow a dodgy developer to get away with illegally-approved buildings and carry out environmental destruction.

On 18th March 2009, there was an onsite meeting at Clifton Views site between community representatives, the Combined Beaches Community Association.

Most Cairns Regional Councillors including the Mayor and planners Conics, were there. The community were overwhelmingly against any widening or interference of this natural waterway creek and clearing of the riparian corridor.

The locals were ignored.

At a Council meeting on 8th April, a decision was made to allow Glencorp to effectively take ownership and widen the creek.

Deputy Mayor Margaret Cochrane recommended the approval, and Sno Bonneau seconded it. Councillors Forsyth, Lesina, Pyne, Leu and Schier, voted against.

Here were the conditions imposed:
  • 23. All existing creek systems and drainage areas must be left in their current state including no channel alterations and no removal of vegetation unless
    consented to in writing by the Chief Executive Officer.

    23. a. Undertake works within the gully to widen the flow path, as illustrated on CMG Consulting Engineers Drawings 20121-C35 – C40 & COM0042-001.
    As part of these drainage works, retain significant vegetation and to provide additional landscaping to create a more attractive and usable
    environment, devoid of weed species and available to residents as recreational space. Proposed landscaping works are to be generally in
    accordance with Clifton Views, Clifton Beach Landscape Concept Plan prepared by Conics. Details of proposed planting and rehabilitation are
    to be approved by Council and all such works are to be completed prior to Council being required to endorse a survey plan for Stage 2.

    b. Council is to be advise seven (7) days prior to the commencement of works within the gully.

    c. Council is to have reviewed a detailed plan showing vegetation to be removed an minimum of 14 days prior to commencement of works.

    d. An officer from Council shall be in attendance during the removal of the vegetation in the gully and shall have the authority to stop work on the
    removal of any particular tree or trees deemed to be significant which warrant retention. The applicant is to contact Council as early as
    possible to agree on which vegetation is to be removed.

    24. The applicant is required to lodge a $300,000 bond to Council in order to guarantee the works required to be undertaken in compliance with Condition
    23 are completed satisfactorily and function as intended. The works are to be completed and withstand two wet seasons (which reflect the average
    yearly rainfall and rainfall intensity frequency duration data (IFD), based on information provided by the Bureau of Meteorology) prior to Council being
    required to release the bond.

    39. Prior to commencement of the development, an inspection must be carried out for signs of protected wildlife including nests and animal habitat on the
    subject site, with particular attention to the wallaby population. Should any recent wildlife activity be identified, removal of trees and habitat must not
    occur until the animal has vacated the area of immediate danger. If the animal does not move from the area of danger, the Environment Protection
    Agency must be contacted for advice. Important habitat trees should be retained wherever possible. The Chief Executive Officer must be notified of
    the proposed date of commencement of any approved tree clearing.

    Additional Comments following On Site Meeting from Agenda of 08 April 2009:
    The issue of flooding of the new units was a major concern raised by the residents at the on-site meeting. The applicants state that with the channel works complete, that the finished floor levels of the completed units will be above the Q100 flood level. Prior to endorsing a survey plan, it will be necessary for a surveyors certificate to be lodged demonstrating that all units be clear of the Q100 flood level (additional wording added to Condition 18). Furthermore all works within the drain should be at completed stage prior to endorsement of the survey plan (additional word in Condition 23).

    There was further discussion at the on-site meeting as to whether the land containing the creek should be transferred to Council. It is recommended that Council not take ownership of this land and that the responsibility for the on-going maintenance remain with the Body Corporate.

    Simon Clarke
    Manager Development Assessment
A vague map of proposed vegetation accompanied the Agenda for 8th April meeting. It lacked detail and was poor quality. It showed that that only one section of the creek was to be cleared and widened and this was in the middle section of creek near the bridge.

What the map didn't show is that one whole side of the creek would be cleared of vegetation, the whole length of the development. However, once Glencorp got the approval, they have obviously ignored their original plans and not only have cleared vegetation the whole way down one side of the creek but have also widened it the whole length too.

Therefore, there has been a gross breach of development conditions.

So much for the Council Vegetation Officer being onsite to oversee what was removed. Glencorp did what they wanted and our community was lied to, once again by a large development company, who from the outset was determined to build on a flood plain, maximize the number of units (to 246) on this block by building within 5 mt of this waterway and in the process destroy a gazetted wildlife and riparian corridors to suit their own greedy agendas.

This all happened blind Council and State Government approval.

On the day of the site inspection, with an audience of consultants, community representatives, Councillors, the Mayor and members of the local residents' association, as if on cue, two Agile wallabies, hopped by. I wonder where they are living now that their habitat has been so thoroughly destroyed. So much for Glencorp’s environmental credentials and meaningless signage.

Well the Clifton Beach community is fighting back and will continue to escalate these matters in the public arena for as long as it takes.

I suggest you wander down and watch what these rogues are up to . Take your camera. They don't like being monitored. We expect they will soon line the creek with concrete.

Whilst I snapped some photos yesterday, the site foreman stopped the digger and tried to intimidate me by taking a photo of me. Last week, a member of the Beaches Residents Association was photographed several times whilst eating in a restaurant. The perpetrator then left the restaurant and walked across the road and entered the Glencorp head office in Aplin Street.

These people really are odd if they think our community is going to ignore what is going on.

And the Council. Nowhere to be seen.


nocturnal congress said...

Val can't win. People will blame her for this.

Thaddeus said...

Who will be Mayor after Val? Have people considered that? I doubt Val will stand for re-election (and who can blame her for not doing so?) I fear the media "hate" campaign will deter many good people from standing and that the field of candidates will be very small. What are the media setting us up for?

Keith Martin said...

The statement in Simon Clarke’s approval comments is rather strange. “The applicants state that with the channel works complete, that the finished floor levels of the completed units will be above the Q100 flood level.”

This statement is at odds with the Request to Change Conditions, which nowhere states that the existing floor levels are currently below Q100 levels. It only states (Condition 23, Item 20, Ordinary Meeting 25th Feb 09) that “Upon completion of flood modelling for the site and surrounding area, it was determined that parts of the subject site and adjoining properties were subject to flooding in a Q100 event”. Those parts are not specified, but at the site meeting of 18th March, I personally asked the developer whether the existing floor levels were below Q100 flood levels. The very clear response (supported by flood mapping) was that they were not below Q100 levels. This raises two conflicting scenarios:

1. If the units are right now below Q100 levels, (as stated by Simon Clarke as the justification for this work), then this represents a significant breach of their original approval, which states that all habitable floor levels must be at least 15 cm above Q100 levels.
2. If the units are already above Q100 levels (as stated by the developer, as seen on their flood mapping, and implied in their recent Request to Change Conditions), then there is no justification for the creek works.

Which one is correct, and why hasn't this basic issue been clarified?

In a Council media release of 9 April 2009, the Mayor was quoted as saying “the creek, Deadmans Gully, would be widened and deepened to increase flow capacity and provide flood immunity to Q100 standard”. This also implies that the existing buildings were already in major breach of the development approval conditions. It is also noted that the Mayor has stated that the creek is to be deepened – according to the current approval this is untrue, and the developer has permission only to widen the creek, not deepen it.

In the same media release, the Mayor also states that “works would be undertaken in the gully alongside the unit development to prevent the flooding issues experienced earlier this year during heavy rainfall events” This is also a curious statement, since planning for these works was completed in November 2008, before the January 2009 floods, and that the developer at the site meeting also stated that the 2009 flood event was not a Q100 event. Nowhere in any of the documentation are the effects of that flood mentioned.

Clearly everyone from the Mayor down is confused, and the result is now there for all to see.

Bert Wills said...

Seems like Deadman's Creek has already been dug up. Question is, what happens when the next wet sends 3 metres of water rushing down the mountain? Question two, Does the CRC hold the $300,000 right now or is that another nebulous bank guarantee?

Anonymous said...

In this instance Glencorp should be Glen Corpse.


rd said...

Glencorp OWN this waterway do they? So, when Glencorp permit water from their land to surge downstream onto other properties triggering flood, they are evidently liable for damage and clean-up costs, as anybody causing third party property damage is. Does this indicate that next wet season I will not have to afford the $3000.00+ clean-up and repair costs for the contaminated water, debris, litter and building materials that Glencorp provided to me last January? I think not. I can speculate that the CRC will have consented to some type of “no responsibility contract”, giving preferentiality to Glencorp. And yes, Val could take action, as modifications to building and development plans and permits are often adjusted throughout projects. But Val just doesn’t get it. She’s out of her depth. Public interest, citizen’s support, residents concerns, the Cairns Plan, environment, transparency, blah, blah, blah, blah …

Joe Jackson said...

The creek is actually a drain, how may drains around cairns have concrete in them. Almost all of them! People at Clifton have the little information being feed to them and not all the information that the planners like Clarke made the recommendation on. Remember this development is code assessible and would be approved again and again with the current planning code. The problem is that Val can't do anything about it like she promised you more souls that believed her in the first place.

Joe Jackson

sno hater said...

Go see Val's web page and have a look at What's News. Have a look at what she says about the high rise approval 'I have never been opposed to density housing' isn't that why all the clifton beach residents voted for her, as Kev had let you all down.

Well maybe go guys are wasting your time opposing high density as the mayor sure likes it.

Drainage Engineer said...

Yes Joe ... it's a drain.
Natures drain.
Just like every stream, creek, river, etc. It drains the run-off water from the hillslopes catchment across the highway and using the influence of gravity, leads this water to the sea.

It is a low capacity drain and has overtoped regually in the past due to the overgrowth of plants and trees and obstructing boulders, not to mention the local residents illegally dumped debris and refuse.

What is happening now is that mankind is giving nature a hand.
Mankind is re-engineering this "drain" to make it work much more efficiently. The few animals that inhabit nature's piss poor example of a drain so close to the highway will find somewhere else more suitable to live.

Mankind wishes to live here.

Mankind rules.

Jude Johnston said...

Joe, I don't think Captain Cook called it Deadman's Drain. The Creek rises in the McAlister Range, and wends it's way down to the sea. Take a look at the Cairns Plan waterway overlay for Beaches, it will show you that the Creek is a cat 2 until it reaches the Captain Cook Highway and then it is Cat 1 through Glencorp.
Try getting a copy of the Kenhill Kramer report commissioned by the council in 1998 and read the part that says the area should be left as a flood plain. What you also have to understand Joe is that the Development Approval was to build their units above the Q100 not below it. As for those at Clifton Beach not being told all the information like Mr Clarke at Council - please!! Re read what Keith Martin says above. There are very knowledgeable people out in the Beaches.

Clifton Ratbag said...

The big issue is whether all this kerfuffle will result in the presales of these units falling over. The apartments across the road, already finished, had almost 20 presales fall over, even without the flooding issue. If 30 or so of these new units don't close and the contracts fall over, they'll take Glencorp with them. This is the same that has happened to CEC (stock unsold and contracts falling over) and Hedley is on the verge of the same fate.

We can all rejoice when these evil developers are closed down.

Oh, and the wallabies? They're actually pets that hang out by the people that feed them (Bramble street, just past Yule). . .these now aggressive and non-foraging animals are a nuisance created by idiots who feed wild animals.

Clifton Ratbag said...

Oh, and as for the "camera stalking".

Isn't that your tactic, Mr. Moore? Stalking poor young Kerrie Hull at all hours of the night?

What's good for the goose. . .

Keith Martin said...

Yes, Joe Jackson, you are correct in that the DNR have mapped it as a “drainage feature” under Section 71 of the old Water Resources Act 1989. In June 2001, the original developer (Amphora) requested a permit to clear vegetation along this creek. DNR inspected the site and deemed it to be a “watercourse” under the Act, thus requiring a permit to clear. The developer then pressured the DNR officer to reassess the site, and following a return visit, decided it was just a “drain” and therefore not assessable under the Water Resources Act. This is the main reason that the current developer has been able to get approval for this work without referral to the then DNR.

It should be noted that, semantics aside, these classifications, now under the Water Act 2000 are relevant only to the hydrological values of the site, not the ecological values which are covered under CairnsPlan. The CairnsPlan Vegetation Conservation and Significant Waterways Overlay Code specifically states that waterways identified within that Code (including Deadman’s Gully) “are not limited to waterways that may be classified as a “watercourse” for the purposes of the Water Act 2000”.

Therefore, drain or no drain classification, Council still has to assess an application such as this under the relevant CairnsPlan code. No assessment of the significance of the waterway against CairnsPlan is evident in the planners report. Neither was the application vetted by EPA, who have an interest as a referral agency, since the site overlays a mapped referrable wetland.

Over the last few years I have not seen a single development application approved on the northern beaches that properly complied with the Vegetation Conservation and Significant Waterways Overlay Code where that code was applicable.

There is also a Connectivity Overlay in CairnsPlan, which is meant to protect wildlife corridors on the Beaches. One such corridor is mapped right through this area. I can find no evidence in the developer's application or Council planning reports that this overlay was ever considered - it just doesn't rate a single mention, let alone any assessment.

These CairnsPlan codes are just not being taken seriously by the Council planners. Councillors ultimately depend on their planning staff to provide professional advice on these applications. But Councillors are regularly being asked to decide on applications where critical facts are left out, and environmental overlays are being ignored in favour of approvals. The fact that approvals such as this commonly generate such a divided vote amongst Councillors is to me clear evidence that the planners are not performing to community expectations.

Not a council planner said...

The community of Clifton Beach fully supports the expert opinion of Keith Martin in this matter.

It is very clear to all that the declassification of this important waterway was to allow development, then add a dodgy greedy developer who adds 246 units to a flood prone area, and a Council who allows it, and the result = MESS.

Mayor Schier said as much on the site visit back in March.

As for Joe Jackson's comments, I suggest you are making them from the Council point of view, probably a planner that is now being openly critised for the lack of professionalism and or incompetence in this matter. Perhaps it was collusion all the way - looks that way to us. Public confidence has been shot because of all these inappropriate and unsympathetic developments that have been approved, and especially where waterway integrity has been compromised by reclassifying, declassifying to suit developers, changing or ignoring the CairnsPlan. Council and Council staff are there to work for residents and the environment of this area, not developers!

Our community does expect more of the CRC planning department and we rarely get it.

Instead the developers seem to get what they want100% if the time, to the great detriment of our natural enviroment which is slowly being concreted up, bricked up, blocked up, painted green to look like it blends in, and then those in the tourism industry are wondering where all the tourists are??

No shit Sherlock???!!!!

Meanwhile life is made unbearable for residents who are left with ongoing noise problems, lack of adequate parking conditions such as Clifton Cottages, sees cars parked outside these units everyday, loss of visual amenity by having to look at "eyesores" and "monstrosities" that do not blend in, some right at back doors literally, massive downstream flooding effects, or simply runoff flooding because no legal exit point for stormwater was made mandatory etc

Jan from Kewarra said...

Re Drainage Engineer's comments about Deadman's Creek being a drain....

I say, that the only real "drain" on the Northern Beaches is Peter Tablet and the CRC planning department.

Doc in Cairns said...

I heard an MP wants to abolish Local Government. Maybe he visited Cairns?

sno hater said...

Yes please, bring on the MP, they will not care about the residents like clifton beach residents that make such stories up. The Cairns Mayor has made Cairns a laughing stock to the rest of the state, please do not vote for her again. The cost will be job loss.

Developer Dan said...

Developer Dan: oi greenies if ya worried about the reef grow some fish or coral, if ya worried about trees, grow some trees. But do it on your land. if your worried about drainage, build a drain but do it on your land. If you wanna stop development get some money n some brains n buy the land. if you do that you can have all the little planties and furry little vermin you like. Stop Killing cairns economy and do somthing real you gutless pen-pushing do-gooding cocks. (<- type of bird)

Jude Johnston said...

Dear Me Developer Dan, such a tirade and with a limited articulation ability, and I assume the same limited comprehension, I will try and put this as simply as I can.
Council issue a Development Approval usually with conditions attached. A reasonable man might assume that those conditions will be followed. When the conditions are not adhered to, and the Developer thumbs his nose at the Council, putting his buildings where he wants them to go, not where the development approval says they can then he has to go back and get retrospective approval. The fact he has broken the conditions is immaterial it seems. He then carries on building below the Q100 flood level and when his units are flooded he goes back to Council and gets further approval to dig out the creek so he can keep the water off his place and send it down to flood all those properties down stream. These property owners who built their homes and, might I say Investment properties, within the development conditions approved, according to you, should not have any rights at all. Please let me know where you live, so I can look at purchasing the property next door, in order that I can dig drains, plant little planties, and encourage furry little vermin to take up residence. I will apply to the Council for reduced boundary offsets and will place my airconditioning units adjacent to your property so you can enjoy the industrial hum of machinery over the sounds of Mother Nature.

Drainage Engineer said...

Hey Jude ... some facts.

The developer did build these units as per requirements, that is the habitable floor level to be above Q100AHD.
The outside areas got flooded however due to a combination of extraordinary rain, (ex Tropical Cyclone Ellie - remember what it did to Ingham?), and overgrowth compounded by thoughtless dumping of waste vegetation in the natural "drainage" channel.

There is no natural retention in this system, what is dumped on the hills quickly ends up trying to get to the sea.

Alison Alloway said...

Jude's comment about "furry little vermin" made me smile and recall growing up in FNQ in the 1950s and 1960s. We had possums in the roof, the odd bandicoot scuttling across the verandah, the dogs would chase the odd wandering wallaby up the street, we all had pet frogs living under our water tanks and almost everyone had the fright of their lives finding at least once, a python in the old outhouse toilets. An almighty fracas in the chook-house would find a python in the throes of gobbling a hapless chook, or a wily dingo trying to get lunch.
Compared to how people live today, it seems like it was like life on another planet.

Quien Sabe said...

Hey Drainage Engineer..

Some Facts

From the report to the Cairns Regional Council Planning & Environment Committee dated 9 April 2009:

"Upon completion of flood modelling for the site and surrounding area, it was determined
that parts of the subject site and adjoining properties were subject to flooding in a Q100 event", and:

"The applicants state that WITH THE CHANNEL WORKS COMPLETE (my emphasis), that the finished floor levels of the completed units will be above the Q100 flood level".

In other words, for the works to be compliant, the Q100 level had to be lowered by deepening and widening the creek.

Without the mitigating effects of the flood plain this will increase the mass flow and velocity of the waterflow leaving the property and impact on those downstream.

As to the flooding being the result of TC Ellie, you may not be aware that the flooding occurred on the night of 11-12 January 2009. Cat 1 Cyclone Ellie did not form until 1am on February 1 2009.

I cannot see a causitive link between the cyclone and the flooding.

Notwithstanding this, and the fact that the Q100 flood level is supposed to prevent flooding under cyclonic conditions far worse than Cat 1, the rainfall on the night of 11-12 January was nowhere near Q100 levels.

Added to this is the fact that much of the material in the creek had been placed there by the Developer, as a "temporary measure during construction". I was at the community meeting on site with Councillors and the developers engineers when this statement was made.

These are the facts.

The wheels of justice turn slowly said...

I’m sure all pre-schoolers will be excited to learn that “Bob the Builder” has a new playmate called “Dan the Developer.” One of course doesn’t expect rational thought or understanding of the principles of ethics, law or accountability at that level.

Developers have no respect for the law and no regard for the community in which they operate. They do exactly what they like because they can and that’s the simple reality.
Those that have the most to lose, scream the loudest when the tide starts to turn and it is slowly turning.

The mistake developers and the council continue to make is the premise that residents are stupid and apathetic and will blindly accept whatever is dished out to them. Well here’s a news flash. Those days are over. Residents will fight back and they do know the law and they’re neither greenies or activists nor gutless pen-pushing, do-gooding appendages. It’s called Justice!!!!!!!!!!

Drainage Engineer said...

Sorry ... not TC Ellie but TC Charlotte. Thanks for pointing that out, wheels of justice.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aunty Jack said...

Many on the Northern Beaches and many a Cairnsite, are all praying like mad that Dan the Builder and his friends at Glencorp, go down the same slippery slope to doom, just as their counterpart, Mr Hedley did yesterday!!!

Whilst Tom might be a broken man, he is where he is because of his own doing and greed. There will be plenty of small businesses and other employees who will be really crying and depressed because of monies owed and not payed!! And probably never will see their money now!

The wheels of Justice turn slowly, but they do turn and in this instance, the economic recession, that we had to have, is bringing some of these high flying arrogant developers or "locusts" as some term, back to square one!

Bring it on I say, bring it on!

No more crappy developments destroying our natural environments and making our lives a living hell.

Nick said...

Aunty, if you think the demise of Hedley,CMC and Glencorp will change anything, then you are dreaming.There will be others filling the void as soon as the opportunity arises.

The problem is that there are no strict rules to prevent this sort of unsuitable development and where there are rules, they are not being enforced.

And while you are rejoicing, you can rest assured that the people in charge of these companies, unlike the subbies and suppliers, won't suffer too much financially.

Jude Johnston said...

The ink is barely dry from the this debacle when here is Glencorp on the Agenda again for the this weeks Planning & Environment Committee Meeting. He now wants to change another condition,
"primarily aimed at securing an early release of the Stage 2 Survey Plan in
advance of completing all the works required in the waterway that runs through the site.
Currently conditions of approval require that all these works be completed prior to Stage
2 survey plan endorsement"
His reasoning is that the bank won't give him any more money unless he can flog off the units and reduce his debt. He wants to blame Council for the delays he has had and uses the veiled threat of job losses if Council don't approve this latest condition change.
Mr Jattke, it is time you took responsibility for your business. You are the one who transgressed from the Development Approvals, not Council. Council in the past has pandered to your delinquent behaviour,and in this instance the Officers recomendation is not to approve.

Joe Jackson said...

I like to hear that you guys care about the people who are losing their jobs due to builders going under. In the latest budget report it showed that the council is also going to dig out the rest of deadmans gully due to the local residents dumping vegetation and litter. I would like to see photos on here when the council goes in with diggers.

Aunty Jack said...

Unfortunately, Joe, you are correct that resident's do the wrong thing sometimes when it comes to dumping rubbish in waterways, as I have seen that with my own eyes.

However, if Council, still had their rubbish pick up every year like we used to have before KB's time, and it did not cost the earth to dump vegetation rubbish at the dump, then perhaps, residents would choose a different option! Some Councils down south have a voucher system which involves say 3-5 free tipping sessions per year to each household to encourage residents to do the right thing.

So over to you Joe, the Council Officer in disguise....