Monday 31 August 2009

Freebody threatens and bullies: Same old, same old

In a pattern I'm all too familiar with, when you talk about anyone in the Cairns Old Boy's Club, they try and bully those that speak out against them.

It's a rather tiresome tactic, because new media simply expose them and their vain games for all to see.
On Friday afternoon at 2:19pm, I received a rather rude and confrontational telephone call from former Cairns Councillor Paul Freebody.

It was in response to my story last week about his proposed waterpark development on the Northern Beaches sugar cane land. Freebody is trying to build a massive recreational development, just south of the Yorkeys Knob roundabout, between Dillion Road. Long-time locals will know this site where the failed Vic Hislop's Shark Show was.
It's smack bang in the middle of the Barron Delta flood plains. Freebody's been getting the blind Cairns Post to promote his venture, without a single approval in place, just a bunch of pretty drawings. Not from the State Government, nor the local Council, even though he says everything is approved, "bar the Council."
Let me remind the ambitious Paul Freebody, that he of all people should well know as a former city councillor, the State Government won't be looking at his plan until Cairns Regional Council says they agree with it moving forward.
Over the next couple of weeks, prior to Council's mid-September Planning and Environment meeting that will consider Freebody's application, CairnsBlog will detail substantive and mitigating reasons why this development will be proved disastrous and will never pass the rigorous approvals that State planning will allow for such a site.
Meanwhile, back to Friday afternoon's telephone call from the good Christain Paul Freebody. "Freebody here!," a loud and rude voice introduced itself.
"Get my name and my family off that dirty grubby little website of yours," Paul Freebody shouted down the phone before I had a chance to even say 'hello', or 'how's your lovely family Paul?'
"I'll give you one chance to get rid of that stuff that I've just learnt is on your site," he screamed with anger.
At this stage, I had more important things to do, like check out the Broncos line up later that evening. So I placed the phone to one side on my desk and let the angry caller talk to himself. I heard muffled yells for a further two or three minutes. I guess he eventually realised he wasn't getting any acknowledgement. It's a trick I do with those trying to sell Amway or double-glazing folk from India. Freebody has earned to be in that category.
The last time I saw Paul, he was in The Good Guys a few weeks ago, purchasing a discounted vacuum cleaner. I thought at the time, that maybe he had a lot of dirt hiding behind the couch to get rid of. We swapped sweet nothings. However Paul harbours great hatred for things that doesn't fit his version of normality. During the 2008 Council election campaign, as CairnsBlog was gaining thousands of local readers, Freebody started to spread great gossip about myself. He passed the mantle over to the Deputy Mayor and the former Cairns Post Chief of Staff Gavin King, in an effort to discredit me.
Seventeen months on, Freebody is no longer Councillor. King left the Post - not such a bad thing - and CairnsBlog is still very much alive and well.
As I mentioned in my piece last Wednesday about Paul's wacky waterworld wonder, he's been on a self-promotion tour ad nauseam for months. Besides the Cairns Posts sickly promotion of a development that would have severe environmental consequences, the good man himself has not left a stone unturned as he butters up everyone that could influence support for his project.
Just last week he popped a text message in the Cairns Post, their idea of responsible journalism. He's saying nice things about the Mayor. Who would have thought. When you're the boss, and someone sweet talks to you, you have to ask, what does he want?
This was followed by a telephone call whilst the Mayor was on her weekly radio show.
"Hi Val, it's Paul here, Paul Freebody," he said. "You know, when my development for the adventure waterpark comes before Council, you'll support it, won't you?"
Now I won't debate how tacky this is, but needless to say, the Mayor wasn't complicit in his request for instant public support.
"It has taken my wife and I nearly three years to get to this point and obtain this prize site in the prime location on the tourist strip to the north of Cairns," Freebody told Australian Leisure in March.
"We will also try and make use of the natural water course running under the site for our water requirements for the attractions."
Jimmy Mac, a local commentator writing on the Sky Scraper City forum, has raised issues about the approval.
"Word is that there are serious issues with the site - it's clearly in the Barron River floodplain and will flood yearly," writes Jimmy Mac. He cited a housing development near Freshwater, similarly situated in the Barron flood plain that was given a rejection letter by the State Government for just this same reason.
"The waterpark developer is not known as a 'team player' and apparently isn't up to a co-developer. This is a pretty good project although probably pretty high risk, so with a rejection at Dillon Road looking very likely," he writes.
Some objections have been lodged with Council, as the Development Approval notice on the highway was removed when my story aired.
One objector cited the serious flooding issues, in great detail. Word has it that within days Freebody got wind of this person's name and paid him a visit. The resulting breach of confidence by another Councillor due to passing of information to the applicant Freebody, is now subject to a Crime and Misconduct investigation.
Well, this waterpark proposal does have some serious issues, and it's all about water. Lots of water. More water than the swimming pools and tubes at this fantasy wet land will ever see in a thousand years. In fact, if you've lived in this part of Queensland for a few years like I have, or more that 20 or 30 years, then you'll have stories to share about what tricks the Barron and its Delta can dish up, and we have little or no control over.
Tomorrow, along with a number of local experts, who have a history in local government and environmental land management, will detail and tell why this waterpark will be a disaster if it is ever allowed to proceed.
I'll also introduce you to a book, commissioned for over half a million dollars in 1980, by the then Mulgrave Shire Council and the Queensland State Government. The report was ordered by Maritime Minister, the Hon Val Bird.
It was called the Barron River Delta Investigation, and it reads better than a Stephen King novel. It's 455 pages of frightening history with many pictures that I'll share. This report alone will be the end of Freebody's baby.


Al said...

Should have stuck to the car wash Paul, this time you're really out of your depth.

Flood the Park said...

Freebody shows his true colours.!

All you have to do is look on the front page of the Cairns Compost of every wet season for the last 100 years and you will see mind blowing imagery of the whole Delta submerged under metres of water.

How Freebody could even consider building in a flood zone defies belief.

I hope Council and the State enact their own state planning legislation and knock this thing back.

Tony Hillier said...

When he was a councillor, Peabody tried to get Barfly banned, expressing vehement moral outrage over the use of the 'c' word in a serious review of the 'Vagina Monologues'. This from a man who was selling nauseatingly obnoxious 'Frying Freddie' dolls to children in his toy store!

Oliver Wright said...

Anyone want to make a bet as to the headlines in the Cairns' Post -the moral indignation once again as its shelia Val's fault that this doesn't go ahead - against so called public wishes!

Its a pity, coz I really believe a water park like this is something Cairns needs, and a location next to the existing water-ski park would have been ideal. But there is only one reason Mr Freebody wants to build it where it is - the land was cheap (coz it floods), so he can maximise his profits. I don't know, perhaps he's going to build it on an island or with huge walls....

Peter Todd said...


Smithfield Steve said...

Knocked back? This should turn this guy into a ranting lunatic, looking for someone to blame. If you're one that's written an objection, I'd get out of town until cyclone Freebody blows himself out.

Unknown said...

freebody, byrne, blake, cochrane, bonneau ... no wonder this town is a mess.