Friday, 19 June 2009

Val starts to rebuild support

The Mayor of Cairns Regional Council, Val Schier, has taken the first step to rebuild confidence in those that supported her election, 15 months ago.

Like many, I've been a critic about the lack of communication with those that supported a new direction in our Council over a year ago. I said last week it's about time Val did what we voted he to do.

Val and I had the opportunity for a long chat a couple of nights ago. She acknowledged the difficulties of the last few months, a reference to the destabilising effect of the Cash for Comments scandal that the CEO resigned over, and will undoubtedly mean a totally new Council media team.

Former Councillor, Ross Parisi, has also been critical about the Mayor's support base being eroded. He said that this was the last throw of the dice for Mayor Val Schier, if she didn't start to take decisive and urgent action.

So, as the first in a campaign to rebuild confidence and reach out, the Mayor has today launched her own website.

"Finally Mike, the site is up," Val wrote to me.

"I just kept on feeling guilty about not finding the time to communicate with supporters," Val Schier said, who was voted in after ousting a conservative Council following nearly 10 years of leadership.

"This [the website] has been nearly ready since late January, but I needed to find the time to post information," Val said.

She writes in her introduction...
  • I said that I would be in regular contact with my wonderful supporters who got me elected to Cairns Regional Council in March 2008. Being Mayor in a very challenging time has been full on; it's taken me a while to take the important time out from my civic duties to fulfil that promise. Forgive me.

    I am delighted that this website is live and that people can now find out what we're up to in Council, and what we've achieved.

    You will be able to subscribe to my newsletters, get regular updates, read media releases, download a brief biography or photos and get in touch with me through emails. Skim through the posts below to catch up on some of items of interest over the past few months.
Anyone can subscribe to regular newsletters.

"It's open to whomever wants to be kept informed, "Val says. "No doubt some detractors will sign up as well!"


the cat's vomit said...

Well, hallelujah, she is FINALLY starting to listen to those of us who gave her good advice at the beginning of her tenure.

Aunty Jack said...

Is she listening though?

No good if she is not, and evidence lately seems to suggest that she now has others in her confidence, who do not have the interests of Cairns ratepayers or our environment at the top of their list.

Personally, I see this as too little too late!

colinwhodares said...

Too late val , unless the "henry report is released I am a deserter . If those who undermine are allowed to hide behind the report , well to late she cried.

Dutchie said...

Better late than never!

And I think there's no point in deserting as that will not achieve anything. Obviously, constructive criticism was headed, so be glad.

Put yourself in her shoes and consider all the angles.

Even though I am for transparency, I do not believe it should be at the expense of everything.

The web site is very informative, so I would like to encourage the mayor to keep up the good work!

CBD Warrior said...

Funny, but Val has denied the so called two hour "chat" you claim to have had with her, Michael.

What else is made up?

Thornton On Spence said...

Hey CBD Warrior. Where in the Blog is there any reference to a two hour "chat"? A long chat 2 nights ago does not equate to a two hour chat. As an obvious fan of that total dud Alan Blake and note the term Dud which is commonly used in emails circulating around Council you are perhaps suffering from the same problems as him. Gross exageration and misrepresentation.

The Headless Horseman said...

Val's website is terrific and it gives me some appreciation of the huge workload she has.
The former CEO should be ashamed of himself for not giving Val the support she required. He was certainly not up to the job.
While Alan Blake and Kerie Hull are having secret meetings and plotting against the Mayor, it's good to see Val has remained focused. And even cheerful despite the stresses.
And where's the Deputy Mayor, Margaret Cochrane? I've seen her swanning around at one or two public functions, but she doesn't do much. It's about time Cochrane started doing something substantial to give Val support.
I agree with Dutchie that we should all better appreciate what Val does in this community. Who among us would want to be in her shoes with barely any time for herself? And at the same time cope with an unsupportive CEO and Deputy Mayor and childish political games from the Blake-Cochrane clique.
At the very least, her supporters (like me) should give her support instead of sniping. I sure couldn't do the job.
Good on you, Val.

KitchenSlut said...

Maybe she should call the strategy 'fightback' as this is the biggest political suicide note i have seen since the Liberal strategy of that name in 1993.

She has just alienated a substantial section of her vote, entirely validated the Quickie 'village val' image and has many previous tolerant and patient non-aligned supporters wondering if KB was so bad after all. And anyone who knows me knows what a bad slur that is!!

What is presented here is appalling and no start to anything other than a well deserved political death .....

Mel,SouthSide said...

I agree with colinwhodares,unless Val releases the full Henry report,she has lost me.ratepayers also want to know what the Briggs payout was ,and why it was paid.
Briggs admitted his resignation was his own decision,therefore surely he has broken a condition of his contract,which places him in a no win situation,whereby he could be sued by council for non performance and breach of contract.
Instead Val gives Briggs a golden hand shake of some reported half million dollars without the consent of all councillors.This matter should be investigated and reported in full to the public.
Until these matters are all cleared up,Val has lost my support.

the cat's vomit said...

As I understand it, Briggs' employment conditions were nutted out between him and the previous Mayor, Kev Byrne. HE of the Capital Globe monstrosity; now one of the biggest developers in the local area...and a corporation which, to be frank, doesn't look too solvent....

nocturnal congress said...

Well, I like Val's website. She has provided more relevant information behind some of her decision making, which is what I like to see.

Because I Care said...

Have you heard the latest Tasmanian joke?
Cairns elected her to run the Council after years of having difficulties in other Government positions. Now, that would be funny, if it wasn't so serious, because we are stuck with her for the next few years. Maybe she would just disappear quietly if she was given a $500,000 payout with an acknowledgement that she was a fine Mayor while she lasted.
Her supporters (I was one) must be tearing their hair out now about the way they were duped prior to the election by promises of no increased rates, open government and disclosure, protection of the Cairns' identity, protection of Cairns' skyline from becoming highrise heaven, protection of the environment in the northern beaches, and Douglas Shire being included in the decision making. One could go on but it is too depressing.
By the way, the latest approval outside the zoning limits opens the floodgates for more in the future, and it was done on Val's watch.
Love him or hate him, Kevin Byrne couldn't approve this development( he might have wanted it, and he can still share responsibility), but it was done by this council. Val’s Council approved the development and Val also justified her position about why. Val Schier is not a guiding light which the supporters thought and sought, she is a self-interested Government, and party line-educated sycophant.
The State Government has gained a willing dupe in the current Cairns' Mayor, which it seems may have been the plan all along.
Any decision against Cairns' best interests, eg sale of Cairns Airport – not a peep!
The election of this Council was supposed to signal changes to the "develop at all costs" mentality that was believed to exist in the other.
As it turns out, the mentality of the current Mayor and the previous seem be have remarkable similarities - simply different bed-fellows - in the business sense of the word.
Her excusers can try as they might, but trying to blame all the current issues on the KB factor won't wash. If Val Schier won't stand up for what her supporters expected, then what is the point of supporting her?

nocturnal congress said...

Because I Care...I couldn't help but laugh like crazy over what you just said above. For the record, Kev Byrne is Managing Director of Capital Globe which is building the current monstrosity. Christ, how he must be laughing at the ignoramuses in Cairns and how easily and effortlessly they can be manipulated and duped. Dead easy!

Because I Care said...

I know that Byrne is involved with Capitol Globe. That was my point in referencing him. I wasn't aware that managing directors of companies got to vote on Council decisions about their developments.
Now that you've stopped laughing you might want to re-read what I wrote.
(By the way, I believe the approved building is appalling.)

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

I think it's great Val has opened up direct communication with the public - it's been a long time coming, but it's a step in the right direction.
And I do wish that people would remember that Val has only one vote on the Council - she does not have the decisive vote (unless the Councillors' vote is tied) - so even, if she is against a project, unless she can get the numbers behind her, then that project might very well go aheaad.
I understand that approval was given for Capital Globe before Val's time - development approvals last 2 years in Cairns - & Val & Crew have been in power only since April 2008.
So, it's very much Byrne's doing, & of course, the Evil Planning Department.
Personally, if I was Val, I would halt the damn thing & demand a revue of the whole development - I reckon it must transgress the Integrated Planning Act, & against the Cairns Plan - so perhaps they could halt it that way - that is, if they eject the bogies out of the Planning Dept. - who allowed this travesty to be passed in the first place.
I reckon it's way too high - one of the first things I loved when I first came to Cairns, is that in the CBD, you could see the mountains around the city, & know what direction you were pointed in - it gave one a sense of space & place.
However, due to a lot of other high-rises built in the past few years, there are now only a few vistas to the mountains. Very sad.

nocturnal congress said...

Lillian, I agree with what you said, however how could Val halt it? I am completely at sea with the working of Local Government planning etc.

nocturnal congress said...

So there you go, Because I care, don't be too fast to blame Val for everything. And remember "weapons of mass destruction", never forget that.

Think On This said...

Nocturnal Congress and Lillian at Yorkeys, it must be very distressing to try and support the person you felt you could rely on. Val Schier has proven she is not reliable by consistently breaking her promises one-by-one and creating new situations which had to be apologised for, or blamed on someone else.

Soon, I feel there may be more revelations over why the Global Towers were approved by the Mayor and her council so easily, which will have you scratching for other reasons to support the person you felt was going to protect the Cairns skyline. Did you know, the Council owns the adjoining block? It was purchased for a new Performing Arts Centre, but is considered too small for that purpose. The Council, I believe, plans to sell it, and develop a Centre elsewhere. Increasing the density and height of the Global Tower block, creates an automatic increase in density and height of all the blocks which surround it, because town planners and courts use precedence to make decisions and councils don’t fight precedence. This increases its value automatically.

Before it is argued this is a good thing that Council can make more money from the eventual sale, remember that the Town Plan was disregarded, it was a decision against the principles that got the current Council elected, and it creates a planning nightmare for the future.

In fact, by Val Schier's Council supporting the approval of the Global Towers outside the planning scheme to such a degree, she has opened Pandora's Box, so development in a rational sense of the word might take a beating over the next few years.

Your hero has ratted on you!

nocturnal congress said...

Think on I understand it, approval for the Capital Globe hidjus KingKong was given before Val gained office.

Think On This said...

Nocturnal Congress....
Byrnes Council approved an 11 level Capital Globe building, which complied with the height limits, in 2007.
The 17 level thing approved on the same site was approved by this council, this month, with Val gushing in full approval. Only Pyne, Leu, Lesina and Forsyth saw the mistake and voted against it.
Byrne is just doing his job now as an employee of the company, trying to maximise returns for the company - it is up to the Council to keep things under control. Unfortunately they haven't, and I believe it is for the reasons I have mentioned previously.
If you still don't believe me, check it out by going to the website and search Capital Globe or copy the link below into your browser:-

Think On This said...

Actually, re-reading the article on, I realise that what was approved was TWO TOWERS over the 11 level limit. One of 17 levels and one of 15 levels.
You've gotta give it to Val, when she breaks her promises (which she has done regularly since being elected)she doesn't do it by halves.

The Headless Horseman said...

The area where the new high-rise development is to be located is ideal for this type of development. My objection is to high-rise in the CBD and along the waterfront. The proposed Harbour Lights II on the Yacht Club site will further ruin our once wonderful heritage CBD.
My complaint about the Byrne Towers is that if the artist's impression is anything to go by, it will be ugly and a blot on the townscape. I hope the council negotiates with the developers to improve the building's appearance. I hope the project includes a free car park too.

nocturnal congress said...

Think on This...have you pondered what would happen if Val opposed the Capital Globe development?
Don't you think she would have known the decision to build the monstrosity would not have been popular? Don't you think she knows that people like you would jump up and accuse her of being hypocritical? Was there, as some of us believe, some pressure exerted on her? I mean, for a start, does John McKenzie sing her praises on his radio show? How about seeing that the BOYS CLUB have wielded their big stick, shown her that NO-ONE can oppose open slather development in Cairns, and demonstrated that if she doesn't come to heel, the "campaign" will get worse? Hmmm? So what if she does decide to oppose some dodgy developments? What's the betting we then read the foot soldiers of "The Cairns Post" as well as rugnut trumpeting for the Mayor to resign. This of course is what they want. Val has demonstrated remarkable courage in staying put against this horrific assault which started almost immediately she was elected so unexpectedly. .

Alison Alloway said...

Headless, I agree, it is an ugly, functional looking building which makes me question just what is its purpose? It is hardly a beacon of luxury and attractiveness designed to lure tourists into staying for weeks vacations. It has the distinctive look to me of a Government building!!!?????

Think On This said...

You will obviously apologise or find excuses for Val's weaknesses come what may so we'll leave it at that, shall we?
Headless Horseman - re the car parking - I understand that a development like this is required to have around 294 on-site carparks. In the approval notice I understand there are 75 to be put on-site so 219 carparks have to be found elsewhere. Free carpark - I don't think so! Check it out for yourself.

The Headless Horseman said...

Because I Care, people like you make me sick. You say you were a supportor of Val, yet the moment you disagree with something you attack with such viciousness and vitriol. You were obviously only a fairweather supporter and perhaps we should be critical of Val for letting her guard down in accepting you as a supporter, maybe even a friend.
I personally don't agree with Val on all issues, but I appreciate the fact that we have different views (which should be accommodated in a democracy).
I appreciate the fact that Val has information available to her that is not necessarily readily available to me.
I also appreciate the fact that Val does not have the numbers on the council.
I appreciate the fact that she works seven days and seven nights a week.
At the same time she has Byrneite backstabbers and backbiters among council staff (minus one) and among the cash-for-comment councillors.
These are a lot of things to juggle, a lot of pressure, and I admire her skills in managing beautifully with such dignity and good humour. I know I couldn't cope with it.
If Val succumbed to the dirty tricks and the loss of so-called support from alleged supporters, Cairns Regional Council would be dysfunctional.
Instead, despite the shenanigans of the Byrneites in the background, Val has protected Cairns' reputation.
And whether you love or hate Kevin Byrne, he was about the worst thing to happen to Cairns. He wrecked our CBD, he wrecked our waterfront, he wrecked our heritage and he approved development that flooded our homes in the city, in Gordonvale and on the Northern Beaches.
Byrne tried to destroy the live music scene in cohoots with some success with police and liquor licensing running interference for him.
In all fairness Byrne did do one good thing - he lost the last election.
So get over it, you Byrneites, and come back when the election is on. In the meantime care your community and support Val.

Highrise Engineer said...

Hey DICKLESS Horseperson ...

It was the QLD LABOR STATE GOVT that killed off the music scene here in Cairns.
They did it with their anti smoking legislation. Don't believe me? Just ask Johnno.

Everything that "Think on this" has said is regarding the new highrise is absolutly correct.

If that evil Labour Govt in Brisbane had allowed development in East Trinity, there would have been much less pressure on the CBD to grow upwards, also at that "special" suburb, Clifton Bleach.

We are becoming a real city. Get used to it.

Think On This said...

I am neither a Val Schier supporter or a Kevin Byrne supporter. I am a Cairns supporter. Having lived here for over 30 years I am allowed to express my opinion on this. So don’t target your vitriol at me when I state the obvious.

None of the most recent Cairns Councils have had the vision to reflect the expectations of the people who pay their wages.
They make decisions on a wing and a prayer and Cairns suffers for it.

Headless Horseman, you say I make you sick. I am stating the obvious when I criticize recent Council decisions which you chose not to analyse. Your apologies for Val Schier's lack of intestinal fortitude in her position as the leader of the Council have no substance.
Please read the approval notices for the development of the Capital Globe Building, a decision which her Council made.
What you call Byrnes Tower was an 11 level highrise approved in 2007 which met Council guidelines.
What has been approved this month is a TWIN TOWER, where both towers are over town planning recommended heights. There is an obviously insufficient allocation for on-site parking. As it has been approved by Val Schier's Council, it should not be dubbed Byrnes Tower of 11 levels, but Val's Towers of Schier Lunacy with TWO towers of 15 levels and 17 levels on the one site!
What your hero, Val Schier, has done by not speaking up, has guaranteed that the other three blocks on the Trinity Inlet side, and the Council's block which was originally planned for a Performing Arts Centre, can now all be developed (as a minimum) to this increased density and height. (What about the parking??)
If you don't believe me, ask your hero.
As a past supporter of Val Schier and the State Labor Govt, I feel I am quite entitled to be so negative about their performance when they act so inappropriately.

With regard to Highrise Engineers comments ...
This Council, (or certain members of it) discussed the benefits of creating a music precinct in the Cairns CBD months ago.
Lots of talk (in the past), no action now.
Best we have is a private enterprise of music patriots - which provides information on gigs around the region.
In the recent past, the live music in the city, and the abundance of it, used to be one of the most wonderful things about living here, for me. Johnnos was, and always will be, an absolute icon.
Johnno has recently been rubbished in some other blogs because he choses to keep playing music on the Esplanade as a busker. I have enjoyed Johnnos' enjoyment of music for over 20 years. Recently, I spoke with him and asked why he busked on the Esplanade between gigs, and he says he does this because he loves it, why be at home watching TV- whether there is one in the audience or a thousand, doesn't matter!
Everyone should be so pleased he choses to do this between other gigs, as he continues to delight us and the visitors to our city.

Rats should eat the children of those who made Johnno’s Blues Bar close!

Regarding the waterfront developments, the State Govt controls what is on the waterfront. The hideous Harbourside development was totally controlled by the State Labor Government. There are no other villians. Vote Labor Again???
The Cairns Council could have no input into the design or approval as it was a State Govt decision.
All the waterfront land in the name of the Port Authority can be sold or manipulated in its development at the State Govt's wishes. There is more to come which you (and I) won't like regarding what will be developed.
A victim of this was the Cairns Yacht Club which is no more, for one.

colinwhodares said...

After reading all your comments it is pretty obvious , you all want cairns to not change at all like the rest of australia.
I bet the aborigines thought the same 200 odd years ago , it is called progress get over it !

nocturnal congress said...

Reading through all of this, I am now convinced that Val has had some pressure exerted on her to approve those twin towers. From who however, I can only guess.

The Head(Dick)less Horseman said...

No, "Think On This", I did not say you made me sick. I said "Because I Care" made me sick. You must be confused.
Good to see you support live music and Johno's Blues Bar though. That's something going for you.
Unlike "Sergeant Highrise Engineer" of Cairns Police.
"Highrise Engineer" must be spying on me, otherwise how did he know I didn't have a dick?

nocturnal congress said...

What?? No Johnsons, Headless? Damn it! Here I was seeing you as a potential Mayoral candidate with all that eloquence, passion and fire. Christ, we can't allow another woman to face that sexually frustrated woman-hating embittered loveless loser, rugnut, again. Or can we?

The Headless Horsewoman said...

Hey, Nocto, who said I was a woman?

nocturnal said...

ROFL Headless.