Wednesday 8 July 2009

Deadman's Regional Council

Deadman's Creek has become an environmental disaster for the Cairns Regional Council. It was once a beautiful waterway, with many North Queensland wildlife amongst its eco-system. Not any longer.

In the last few weeks, Council allowed the developers on the adjoining land to excavate this natural protected waterway, and pave it with rocks like a parking lot. They were hoodwinked by GlenCorp that Deadman's Creek is a drain.

Today, the developer will yet again ask for more approvals to ruin this waterway, to accommodate the will of a developer. On this development, GlenCorp have continually put up whole apartment buildings without approval and, built below the Q100 flood line, breached the riparian corridor, and flout the wishers of the local community.

Council own planner has recommended to refuse today's request to change conditions of approval for the multiple dwellings, known as Clifton Views, however Councillor have consistently sided with the developer in majority, ignoring the community.

See the stunning transformation from a natural creek to a river system that has been ruined here.

It will be another test on Val Schier's leadership, in convincing her Council that approval further excavation is not the wish of the community.

"Our community remains aggrieved at the utmost contempt shown by the Council in allowing the Glencorp developer to destroy this natural waterway and wildlife corridor," Fiona Tulip of the Combined Beaches Community Association says.

Tulip's says the concerns of the community remain.

"We witnessed flooding in March last year and again in January this year, in which homes, properties and cars downstream and adjacent to this development had up to 1m deep of water through them," Fiona Tulip said.

The residents say that further opening up of this waterway will fast track the storm water down the channel to a bottleneck.

"This will happen at the Yule Avenue bridge and culvert drains, and the remaining narrower and natural part of Deadman’s with the potential to cause greater flooding now downstream," Fiona Tulip says.

"It remains to be seen if the first floor units of these (Clifton Views) buildings will remain above the next flooding episode. Not many locals believe that they will be," Tulip says.

"We do not see why the developer should get any more dispensations, including an early release of the Stage 2 Survey Plan in advance of completing the now required changes under the conditions imposed in April 2009 for this waterway," Fiona Tulip said. "The earthworks and required landscaping are clearly not finished."

    PO BOX 1949, CAIRNS QLD 4870
    PROPERTY: LOT 6 ON RP728049 & LOT 1 ON RP7

GlenCorp are applying for:

  • The proposed changes are 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.

There are a number of strange comments in this document.

Firstly, Council are refusing the recommendation on the following grounds:

  • That Council refuse the request to change conditions for Multiple Dwellings (Maximum 3 Storeys) over land described as Lot 6 on RP728049 on Lot 1 on RP736317, located at 22-26 & 40-62 Clifton Road, Clifton Beach on the following grounds:

    1. Stages 2 and 3 have frontage to the waterway/drainage corridor. It is considered appropriate to complete the works required within the waterway/drainage corridor prior to any further survey plan endorsement that will facilitate the occupation of dwelling units adjacent to the waterway.

    2. The completed waterway/drainage corridor is required to contain any
    flooding from any potential significant rainfall event.

Strange comments include...

  • “This latest request to change conditions follows numerous previous requests to amend plans and conditions that have been presented to Council over the past couple of years.
    It is recommended that the latest request be refused.”

    “We note that discussions have recently occurred between the developer and various Divisional Councillors, and between Conics and acting Chief Executive Officer with
    respect to the issue of timing for completion of drainage works. The discussions have centred on the fact that strict compliance with the requirement to complete all drainage
    works prior to endorsement of Stage 2 plans is likely to have serious financial implications for Glencorp and is likely to result in job losses for many involved in this

This comment should be regarded as a veiled threat made by the developers to Council.

If they do not get it, that they will go under. There are also serious questions need to be asked as to who were the Councillors being lobbied and was the Divisional Councillor one of those?

  • “Currently, drainage works are progressing well, with all bulk earthworks completed and landscape plans approved. While it is expected that works will be finalised within 3 – 4 weeks, delays in the sealing of Stage 2 plans until this occurs will require the cessation of works on Stages 3 & 4 due to the unwillingness of GlenCorp’s financiers to fund the continuation of works on these stages until Stage 2 is settled, and debt reduced.

    With approximately 180 persons currently involved in this project, the prospect exists for significant layoffs.”

This indicates that Glencorp are struggling with acquiring finances to finish this project.

  • “The subsequent changes to conditions:-

    ● have changed the configuration of the reserve;
    ● no longer require the reserve to be transferred to Council;
    ● permitted Stage 1 use to commence in advance of the remaining stages,

    The above changes are considered to be significant concessions made by Council in regard to the completion of this development. Fundamental to these concessions is a
    desire to see works in the creek completed as soon as possible, particularly in light of the concerns regarding potential flooding to dwelling units along the length of the waterway/drainage reserve.

    The dilemma associated with keeping a workforce engaged in this project is acknowledged. However, Council did not create the problems associated with this particular development’s non-compliance with the original conditions of approval”

Council are actually acknowledging the concerns about flooding to dwelling units along the length of the whole waterway.

Another comment, where flooding is acknowledged...

  • “Finally, whilst it is acknowledged that the flooding/drain issue has a long history and various matters have contributed to the current situation.”

On page 212, there is this amazing admission...

  • “ The third change to conditions was lodged on the 16th April 2008 to recognize a change in the configuration of the units on the land (as being constructed as opposed to as approved).”

The conditions imposed on the Clifton Views site on the 8th April 2009, should be allowed to stand.

GlenCorp has already been given a great number of dispensations and granted requests to change conditions of approval. There is widespread community and resident anger over the recent flooding events involving this site and serious inundation of properties downstream of Yule Avenue and adjacent to this site.

These are a direct consequence of Council allowing this development to proceed on a recognised flood area, and the subsequent and continual interference of a natural waterway by this developer. The blatant disregard for previous conditions of approval, have now rendered Deadman’s Creek nothing more that a concrete drain.

At the April 2009 Council meeting, it was Councillors Bonneau, Blake, Cochrane, Gregory, Lanskey, and Cooper, that voted to allow Glencorp to destroy Deadman’s Creek.


Keith Martin said...

This report is interesting more for the insight it provides into how developers manipulate the Council, rather than the actual subject matter. We learn from this report that:

1. The developer has been pressuring individual Councillors prior to a planning recommendation being made.

2. The developer’s consultant has been pressuring Council’s acting CEO prior to a planning recommendation being made.

3. The developer has made a threat to the Council that jobs will be lost if the application is not approved.

4. The developer blames Council for their delays (“Council has played some role in the matter of timing becoming as significant as it has”).

5. Council admits that some buildings were constructed illegally (“as being constructed as opposed to as approved”)

6. Council admits that some buildings were illegally constructed below Q100 flood levels (“in light of the concerns regarding potential flooding to dwelling units”) contrary to information in their last Request to Change Conditions, and the developer’s assertions (given at a public meeting in March this year) that all buildings are already above the Q100 flood levels.

Fiona Tulip said...

Locals are now asking the big Question? Where is this destruction going to end?

You do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that Council and developers have caused an even greater problem for downstream residents!!!

By creating a wide and deep channel at the top end, the water speed and volume is going to increase as it runs this section then as it hits the narrower, shallower natural system, plus it has to find its way through a series of smaller narrow culverts to get there, the end result is going to be a massive build up of water and flooding before Yule Avenue, then over the top of the road and brdige, and it will spread out from there to adjoining properties, houses and units. The area just will not cope, even more so than in January!!

Why is it that we can see the problems, but those silly Councillors who voted for this could not?

Is the rest of Deadman's going to suffer the same fate now, especially when the North development (units/resort) gets the nod?

All that has happened is that Glencorp have ruined a natural system in order to cover up their own incompetencies and shift their man-made problems, to someone else's backyard.

It is truly a disgraceful situation all round and the problem is not going away anytime soon.

Today's Council decision will be interesting to see if veiled threats of going bankrupt or having to put staff off will sway the same silly Councillors to keep compounding the problems.

Thaddeus said...

I realise this isn't the solution, but if I had my home at Clifton, I would be putting it on the market now and making plans to relocate.

Fiona Tulip said...

Re Thaddeus's comments....

You are quite correct - that one solution is to sell and move on. Problem is many cannot sell their homes now because of the economic downturn, especially those homes that are on the upper end of market, which many of the beachfront homes are.

Other residents along Clifton Road who back onto Glencorp's Clifton Views, who how have 3 storey units less than 3m from their backfences, have had their properties on the market for over 3 years, and have not had one genuine offer, even a fire sale offer.!!!!!!!

So those poor buggers are really stuffed. No one wants to buy a home that has no privacy, with 3 levels of balconies overlooking your backard!

The whole Glencorp thing has been a disaster from beginning to end, and as I said earlier, no end in sight for many, least of all Deadmans' Creek.

Thaddeus said...

Thanks Fiona, for filling me in. Yes, I understand the difficulties the residents now have.

Aunty Jack said...

Request for early release of Survey Plans for Glencorp's Clifton Views was REFUSED by the majority of Councillors this morning in the P & E Council Meeting.

It would seem that the Council Officer's comments inferring inappropriate lobbying of Councillors, veiled threats of bankruptcy and sackings, and unlawful constructions on site by the developers and their planners Con-ics, were at least enough, to refuse yet another request for change of approval conditions on a very controversial development.

It is important that developers are not allowed to influence our Council Officers and Councillors to their continued financial benefit and to the detriment of our communities and natural environs.

Well Done Council Officers - on this occassion, we give you a big pat on the back and a salute!

Clifton Ratbag said...

Glencorp has been in financial strife for at least nine months, the reason these units are so far behind schedule. Like Hedley, they've been paying (or not paying) bills with money from the sale of units/houses elsewhere. The problem is, nothing is selling now, and no money = slow the construction down. Besides they are well aware that a large number of the contracts will "fall over" as the committed buyers are now not so committed.

Glencorp is going down, just like Hedley. Next up, Satterly. . .

Aunty Jack said...

Interesting that the Madam Cockroach blubbed in today's P & E meeting that she was worried about the possible "retrenchment of the 180 construction workers" purported by Glencorp and their con-artist planners, who would get the sack if Glencorp did not get their way, well I say, "when one door closes another shall surely open."

All those poor buggers have to do is get in their hotted up utes and fancy latest FWDs, drive 5 klm south on the CCH to Smithfield and line up at the new Town Centre, for work. Plenty to keep them in work and busy there for years, or failing that, they could try the 17storey tall building in Portsmith, and cry on KBs shoulder about their woes!

Not exactly a sob story, eh?

We note that Madam did not shed any tears over the poor old residents, many of whom have lived for over 30yrs at Clifton in the same house, whose family homes are no longer saleable, whose houses,properties and cars have been flooded twice in two years, and who continue to live a nightmare, with no privacy or amenity left with 3 levels of balconies less than 3 metres from their fences and overlooking their backyards and into their bedrooms!

One home owner has not had a phone for weeks cos Glencorp workers laid tons of cement for a pathway at the front of their house right over their Telecom pit.This family also run a business from home or they did.....

Me thinks Madam Cockroach, somehow has her priorities a alot mis-directed!

Thos said...

Finally, after years of foisting its atrocious developments (slums to be) upon us, Glencorp is about to fail.
The GFC is not all bad then.

Noj Nedlaw said...

Just building on the thoughts of Clifton Ratbag - the method of using sales from one project to pay the expenses of another seems rather akin to the Ponzi scheme(s) that seem to feature in the US. Seems to me that there is not much difference between using the funds on a new investor to pay the liabilities (ie interest) owing to a previous investor.

Everything works hunkydory as long as there are new investors (suckers) lining up to part with their money.

If they don't, then everyone wonders why it all comes crashing down!

NorthernBeachesWarrior said...

News that Glencorp did not get their way today despite their threats, has made my day!

Re Clifton Ratbag's comments, I could not agree more that there will be other developers going under.

You forgot to mention the Vision Group who were a partner with Hedley Constructions, who this week went down the drain. No evidence of the 11 storey tall building already approved off Moore Road, Kewarra, or the 650 units and villas on the 9th fairway at Paradise Palms.....

So far this year, it has taken them about 6 months to build a putt-putt golf course and children's playground near the Club House, which in my humble opinion still looks like a lunar landscape!!

Oh Happy Days.......

sno hater said...

Fiona - the destruction is not going to end with Glencorp, the council has made an allowance in the next budget to dig out the rest of Deadmans Gully to follow on down stream to contain the flood waters so it does not back up into GlenCorp's land who will probably sue the council if they don't do it. What a pickle that the council has found them selves in. At least the councillors had some common sense today but the truth is- the work continues and GlenCorp will get their approval even if it is now a slower progress. Today's decision has only delayed it not stop it, the celebration is uncalled as Clifton is still under destruction and will continue to be by the council we all voted for.

Quien Sabe said...

I think you will find that the allowance for the digging out of Deadmans Gully is for the annual removal of the sand bar at the mouth where it enters the sea. This bar builds up over the dry season and is always removed, prior to the wet, to allow the waters from upstream to reach the sea. Council carries out similar excavations annually at the mouths of Delaneys and Sweet Creeks. This is just assisting the natural cycle. In pre-habitation days, the bars would have been removed by natural run off from the flood plain.

Clifton Ghost said...

I don't think that anyone could be celebrating the Catastrophic MESS that Clifton Beach now finds itself in, all thanks to UDO!

Even the Mayor, claimed at the on-site visit in March 2009, that Clifton Views was a mess, and it has gotten worse since then.

Bert Wills said...


FNQ Watermelon said...

Thaddeus said...

I realise this isn't the solution, but if I had my home at Clifton, I would be putting it on the market now and making plans to relocate.

Thankgod we are only renting, and I know that the house we buy will not be in the northcoast "manunda" region of cairns. The person who approved these dwellings, should be strung up and publically flogged.. At least tasmania is still untouched paradise!

Joe Jackson said...

Bert, this development was code approved, no impact report was required. I can't see that a judge would ever agree to knock them down considering the developer built these units to the council requirement regardless of history. It would be just a big waste of your money.

Thaddeus said...

FNQ Watermelon, I DO live in the real Manunda region of Cairns. It was a revelation to me, to experience firsthand the WHITE SLUMLORDS of Cairns and how they treat their mostly black or poor white tenants. I'm alright Jack, I own mine, but the money hungry, money mad behaviour of the white owners around me and their contempt for their renters is just mind boggling.

NorthernBeachesWarrior said...

Re Joe Jackson's comments....

you are a little behind the times Joe...and you need to keep up, otherwise, some might think you are deliberatly not telling the truth from CRC point of view.....

At the last P & E meeting whereby Glencorp and Con-artists were refused early release of stage 2, even the senior planner admitted in the Agenda documentation for this proposal that the buildings were "as constructed, not as approved".

Joe Jackson said...

Mr Warrior. . The developer now have a new building approval and a new development approval, so the rest is history and over ruled by these new documents. Once again no judge would rule it to be knockdown. I have heard the stage 2 plans have now been released regardless of the meeting as the developer, so why don't you get with the times. I know this as a lot of suppliers in Cairns have been told to get ready for next stage to start, which a lot of people are happy with as it means jobs.

Jude Johnston said...

Joe, you are quite right that Glencorp will now have the required Development Approvals. However, go back and read Keith Martin's comment at the top and you will see that the way Developers have been allowed to operate in the past. This is not an acceptable standard, either by the Developer or by the Council. If you are a contractor Joe, I would start submitting weekly invoices if I was you. As for the suppliers, well I hope they have asked for a deposit up front, as many of these suppliers would already be facing Bad Debt write offs from the likes of CMC.

Matt Heirink said...

Well Joe Jackson, who really cares how many of your shonky tradie mates are happy. I can assure you there are a number of Clifton Beach residents who are very, very unhappy that their lifestyle, investments and the neighbouring environment have been destroyed by this development.

Anyway, you seem to have some inside information, so I have a question. The developer stated in their application that if the proposed change did not go ahead, then "significant layoffs" would occur amongst the 180 persons involved with the project. Well the change was rejected by Council. Please tell us how many layoffs have resulted.

If there are none, then clearly the developer has lied in their official application to Council.