Tuesday 11 August 2009

Vote against Roy Lavis, please

The Cairns Hill and Habitat Protection group, have written the following letter to all Cairns Regional Councillors, in advance of Wednesday's Planning and Environment meeting.
  • Dear Councilor

    I am writing to you to request that you vote against the application by Kingfisher (Mr. Roy and Mrs Lavis) to subdivide the Mansfield Street property which is on the agenda (Item 5) on Wednesday the 12th of August 2009 Environment and Planning Meeting.

    As pointed out in various submissions (specifically from the Cairns Hill and Habitat Protection Inc.) which are against the proposed development, the application contradicts a variety of hill slope codes.

    The report tabled for approval pointing out the response to these points noted in the objections does not address nor provides sufficient planning grounds for the approval and as a result the application for Material Change of Use and Reconfiguration of lot SP136895 is still in conflict with the Overlay Code 4.6.6 (Hillslopes Code),

    The development proposal lies within the Conservation Planning Area and under the Hillslopes Category 2 (Urban) overlay. The proposal deviates significantly from the Purpose of the Conservation Planning Area Code, the Desired Development Outcomes of the Hillslopes Category 2 area and the Desired Environmental Outcome 2.2.5. The development application and is contrary to the requirements of these codes and must not be supported by Councilors.

    The application for Material Change of Use and Reconfiguration of Lot 22 on SP136895, Earlville should be rejected by the CRC for the following reasons:

    The current Applications will conflict with Overlay Code 4.6.6 (Hillslopes Code), and should be rejected by the CRC for the following reasons:
    • the relevant Lots are in “Hillslopes Category 2 (Urban)”; therefore:
    • it is deemed that “Land included in this category is generally so constrained for development that it is considered to be unsuitable for development.”
    • “The desired development outcomes for this land is to retain the land in a natural state or where possible to rehabilitate the land.”
    “Development on this land is not a desired outcome because of:
    the risk of detrimental impact:
    · on slope stability or erosion potential of the land; and
    · on community safety and the protection of property and persons; and
    · the nature of the constraints of the site (including gradient and slope stability); and
    · the visual prominence and landscape character of the land; and
    the difficulty of servicing such land without the need for substantial engineering solutions that detrimentally impact on the unique characteristics and features of the Hillslopes.

    It is also noted as Vegetation Management Act Essential Habitat area identified as essential habitat by the EPA for a species of wildlife listed as endangered, vulnerable, near threatened or rare under the nature conservation act 1992. The CRC must reject the application for this reason.

    I hold the belief that this Council is different than the previously elected and will hold firm on their promise to the Cairns public of their green agenda and plan for the future of the city rather than the previous promises and develop all mentality of the past.
    I hope that you will agree with these arguments and vote against the
    application tomorrow.


    Ben Price
    President, Cairns Hill and Habitat Protection Incorportated


Dr. John Martin said...

This was sent to Councillors:

Just a quick note at the 11th hour to again request that you vote against the application by Kingfisher (Mr. Roy and Mrs Lavis) to subdivide the Mansfield Street property which is on the agenda (Item 5) at tomorrow’s Environment and Planning Meeting.

The issues are both the current effects and the precedent it sets.
We have reviewed the Cairns Regional Council report which recommends the approval of the application pending conditions.

Superficially the conditions look OK but even a small amount of scrutiny makes them look a bit pointless.

Handing over parcels of land:
He has to give up some of the tracts of land for council ownership.These two parcels are in the two most inaccessible and unusable parts of the block so from Mr Lavis’s point of view probably were never going to be built on anyway. The section left is the part which is he would be wanting to subdivide later.

FNQ 2031
We understand the FNQ 2031 plan at present will prevent further subdivision but I am also aware (as I am sure you are) that developers (including local developers such as a previous Chairman of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce) have and continue to lobby the state government to rescind or modify this zoning law.

Relying on this act (which may change) to be a later hindrance to Mr. Lavis is not how this should be stopped.

The CRC Report states that the remaining land (after taking out the house block in question) is not suitable for development. I am sure the same people would have said the same thing about ALL the hillslopes of Cairns had they been around fifty years ago. The fact is - ALL land can be developed and built on - It is only the current cost: profit ratio which makes it undesirable to develop the steep rainforest slopes. Once the available land decreases and land prices continue to rise the point at which the cost: profit ratio changes will arrive. If the precedent is there people will want to build pole homes on the slopes eventually.

Covenants Applied to Mr. Lavis:
The covenants are really two groups of conditions. One which relate to his own infrastructure and building needs and really are for his benefit anyway - building water-tanks and ensuring stability of banks etc.

The second group are those which directly relate to the ongoing environmental safety and viability of the area.

Sadly, based on the information supplied by Councillor Lesina it seems there is no provision being made for actually monitoring or enforcing these covenants. It is all very well to say he is not allowed to damage vegetation in the covenant area but if no-one is deputized with the task of visiting and monitoring the area then there may as well be no covenant in place at all.

The area is so hidden that unauthorized works , similar to those already carried out, will be able to be done with impunity.

Mr Lavis has shown himself to be a developer who does not restrict himself to authorized activities.

Evidence is on the block itself, as outlined in the website and photographic evidence is in the public domain.

Fiona Tulip, CBCA President said...

To all against the subdivision of the Property in Mansfield Street, Earlville.

The Combined Beaches Community Association also submitted a letter to Councillors against this Development Application last night.

In the past, we have all seen what has happened to the environment surrounding these controversial developments such as False Cape, Foley Road, Clifton Beach Views etc and we all witnessed what happened via this blog, last January during the wet season, the
terrible sediment runoff that occurred on this site after a road went through.

Last year, the Vision Group applied for a MCU of a Conservation Planning Area, on hillslope land behind the Paradise Palms Country Club. All sorts of enviromental convenants were implied, but as others have already pointed out, there is no one monitoring or policiing these conditions. Unbelieveably, development approval was given after Mr Hedley's group who were partners at the time with Vision Group, were prosecuted and fined over $100,000 for environmental damage caused to Deep Creek. Approval was also given despite 105properly made submissions against it.

Our green mountain backdrop and hillslopes, Conservation Areas, tropical rainforest and natural creek systems are precious and they deserve protection.

Why is this not happening in Cairns? Why is sustainable development so hard to achieve?

We had 3 replies from Councillors ("the Good Guys") to our email, who all said that they would not be supporting the application. Of course, it should be 100% not supporting the Application!

Unknown said...

According to the Cairns Post the application was withdrawn after Roy Lavis was "tipped off" that council would reject it.