Friday 18 September 2009

Council planners say no to Freebody's water park plan

Simon Clarke, manager Development Assessment at Cairns Regional Council, says that the application to construct a water park on the corner of Dillon Road and Captain Cook Highway, just south of the Yorkeys Knob roundabout, does not comply with the "desired environmental outcomes of CairnsPlan."
In his 65-page report, Clarke says that the development not be given support at Council's meeting next Wednesday.
"The provisions of State Planning Policies and CairnsPlan do not support the establishment of urban uses in this vulnerable non-urban/rural location," Simon Clarke writes in his report.
Clarke says that "granting approval for this development creates an undesirable precedent."
"While there may be a case that there is a need for such development in the Far North, that need is not considered to be so overriding that it justifies the establishment of this water park in this location."
"A detailed review of the development overall reveals significant shortcomings in numerous regards and as such the development cannot be supported."
Furthermore, the report states:
  • In accordance with the Flood Management Code the majority of the water park itself (excluding car parking, landscaped areas and area for road resumption) can be designed through raising and/or bunding to achieve immunity to the Q100 event.

    However, due to the site’s proximity to the Barron River and location on the flood plain such raising or bunding results in significant upstream effects.

    While the most significant effects of the upstream increases would predominantly affect similarly zoned Rural 1 sugar cane land, the implications in approving this development are nevertheless significant. The Barron River Delta is known for flooding events and is set within the Rural 1 Planning Area due to this in order to avoid the establishment of such uses which are incompatible with flood events.

    The Description and Intent of the Barron-Smithfield District specifically states that the “Barron Delta should continue to be utilised as productive agricultural land because of susceptibility to flooding.

    The subject site is located within the Barron-Smithfield District and Rural 1 Planning Area. The site is further affected by Overlays including the Flood Management Overlay as being within the defined Q100 flood event.

    In summary the development does not comply with the Desired Environmental Outcomes of CairnsPlan. The Development does not achieve the Performance Criteria and Acceptable Measures set out in the Flood Management Overlay Code and Rural 1 Planning Area Code.
Simon Clarke says that if this development was approved, it has implications in so far as it relates to setting a precedent for development within the Barron Delta flood plain.
"Granting approval for this development creates an undesirable precedent for development within the Barron Delta that, if approved, could reduce Council’s ability to decline further inappropriate development within the flood plain which is fundamentally contrary to the provisions of CairnsPlan and State Planning Policy 1/03."
"It would result in a risk to the community. This is translated into the Purpose of the Flood Management Code in so far as it cannot ensure that significant impacts upon adjoining or external premises are avoided and the values of the Barron Delta are not retained," the report to Cairns regional Council says.
The massive Barron Flood of January 1979

Significant floods were recorded in 1967, February and March 1977, January 1979, where millions of cubic meters of sand was displaced and river systems were changed.
Just two years ago, the river rose so high, it lapped over the road at the Barron River bridge.

This is sound and salient recommendation for the Barron and Thomatis delta.
those that want open honest and thorough debate about important environmental issues that would affect many thousands of home owners that reside in the Northern beach communities.

It was just a few weeks ago, after I raised this subject, I received a nasty telephone call from the development applicant, Paul Freebody.

"Get my name and my family off that dirty grubby little website of yours," Paul Freebody shouted down the phone. "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.

You see Paul and his beloved Cairns Post, were in cahoots about promoting his wonderful water adventure park. He didn't want a bad word said against the proposal, just blind dumb reporting by the local paper.

So now we have a 65-page report from planning experts that agrees with what I've been promoting. Council's manager of development assessment has effectively agreed with calling for a moratorium on development in the Barron River, that sugar cane farmer and former Mulgrave Councillor Ross Parisi argues.

The waterpark development failed on the following compliance areas:

"If no remedial action to restrict the increasing water flow is taken, within a short matter of geographical time Thomatis Creek will be the major outlet catering for the bulk of Barron River water flow," Ross Parisi says.
Any incremental development in the Barron River and Thomatis delta is cause for grave concern. The next thing the Council needs to strategically consider, is the massive sand mining works that is occurring on the Barron Delta.
Build a waterpark, absolutely, but find a suitable site that does not have such drastic implications.
Paul Freebody was unavailable for comment today (not that I tried).


Oliver said...

I wait with baited breath for the Cairns Post "slagging off of council/Val" over this matter.

Paul - the idea is sound, and yes it would be a potential drawcard for Cairns, but you've got to build it somewhere else, which means you'll have to find more money! Maybe you can get some state aid - god knows they've saved some money recently by letting other industries fail in Cairns.

nocturnal congress said...

I can already hear the screeches of protest from McKenzie and The Cairns Post.....Val is about to cop ANOTHER bucketing.......

Clifton Ratbag said...

As an avid reader of council development documents, I can think of no other project that has been so roundly rejected by staff than this one. Nevertheless, given the mental capacity (or lack thereof) of the current council, it's always possible that this clearly flawed proposal could get approved. Freebody has been heard saying as much to "movers and shakers" with whom he's acquainted. He claims his "connections" at council guarantee it will sneak by.

And for Oliver (above), it isn't about "finding more money". I understand that in fact he's been offered other sites for less, but they would require him to "partner" with others. Freebody's history is trying to keep everything for himself, even with proposed partners have deep tourism experience (that he doesn't) and would locate the project in a more appropriate location. His history with council was the same - he wasn't much of a team player.

Cairns Resident said...

"Paul Freebody was unavailable for comment today (not that I tried)"?!?!? WTF? What kind of fair and balanced commment is that?

And "Simon Clarke, Manager Development Assessment at Cairns Regional Council, says that the application to construct a water park on the corner of Dillion Road and Captain Cook Highway, just south of the Yorkeys Knob roundabout", which is your first paragraph, isn't even a sentence.

And what does The Cairns Post have to do with this? Oh, that's right - they're part of the NWO, and are complicit in just about everything you perceive to be negative in the world.

Paul Freebody's lover said...

I would have to agree with Portmultimedia, this waterpark NEEDS to happen and WILL happen. If anyone on this site knows Paul Freebody, i mean actually knows him, not just of him, about him or word of mouth un-truthfull chattering about him, they will know that he will get this passed leagally and cairns will benefit big time. I will also say that the majority of the people who comment on this site are no-body's, who have done nothing in life and never will. You all sit here and bag people and progress in this town and have no idea what you are talking about. Most of the people commenting on here are michael moore in disguise using a different name. You are a lowlife and one day will get all the carma coming to you mate. Have fun living your sheltered little life and i cant wait for the day that someone starts up a site and speaks about you and publishes your phone number and address. Carma mate carma!! I would have to agree with Portmultimedia, this waterpark NEEDS to happen and WILL happen. If anyone on this site knows Paul Freebody, i mean actually knows him, not just of him, about him or word of mouth un-truthfull chattering about him, they will know that he will get this passed leagally and cairns will benefit big time. I will also say that the majority of the people who comment on this site are no-body's, who have done nothing in life and never will. You all sit here and bag people and progress in this town and have no idea what you are talking about. Most of the people commenting on here are michael moore in disguise using a different name. You are a lowlife and one day will get all the carma coming to you mate. Have fun living your sheltered little life and i cant wait for the day that someone starts up a site and speaks about you and publishes your phone number and address. Carma mate carma!!

Brian W, Kewerra said...

What's that rant all about above?

Your argument, whoever you are, gets very personal.

I read through most of what's been written on the blog, and today's summery of teh Council officer's recomendation, yet you persaonally attack the guy behind this website? Shouldn't you be slamming the Council officer?

How odd.

nocturnal congress said...

I thought Freebody was in partnership with the former Councillor, Kathy Plath, on the Water Park. What happened?

nocturnal congress said...

"Paul Freebody's lover"'s your spelling, mate? Funny, it looks as bad as a certain election leaflet which Mike posted on this blog. ROFL ROFL. Paul, mate, use a dictionary if you want to post a comment!!! "carma!" BWAH HA HAHA!!

Jenny F James - Cityview said...

Hahaha Freebody.

We can see your writing skills haven't changed since your famous election leaflets (I think they were on this blog)

What a crazy sad and angry little man.

Your God should pray for you.

Also, try booking in for a check up next week, before Wednesday's meeting. I think you might need it mate.

CairnsBlog said...

Thanks for the reminder Nocturnal Congress.

Here's Paul Freebody's wonderful Council election leaflet.

See if you can spot the similarties :-)


PS: Paul was also responsible for Kathy Plath's leaflet.

They both were not re-elected. Wonder why?

Candid Kamara said...

As usual, CairnsBog with its fair, balanced and accurate reporting (sarcasm font needed there). Yes, Freebody may be a complete idiot, but this whole vendetta is about Mike the 'Yorkeys Knob' trying to protect his beloved Northern Beaches suburb.

With a 12.5% employment rate in Cairns, yeah, let's snub a water park, the best idea this place has had since the lagoon.

God, you lot really are tree-huggers aren't you. How pathetic.

CairnsBlog said...

I think if you check carefully "Candid Kamara" - I didn't write the Council report giving 65 pages of reasons why this developement application should be rejected.

Why doesn't Mr Freebody find another location? I would definately support it then, and the Council engineers and planners would too I dare say.


Just another nobody said...

Methinks the rant above by Paul Freebody's Lover is none other than Paul Freebody. The spelling and gramatical construction are identical, and the base anger oozes through. A TAFE course in business English and an anger management course could help you with both these issues Paul.

calmer mate calmer said...

What's with the obsession with tourism, development and growth in this town?

Do we have a 12.5% unemployment rate because of this obsession?

Contrary to the Mayor's belief that everyone benefits from tourism in this town, I have never made a cent from it. In fact, it is only a cash cow for a very small percent.

Can't we build sustainable industry that gives people real, permanent jobs, instead of these fly by night spivs who never seem to lose when their 'business' goes bust?

A water park would be a nice step in fulfilling our 'Gold Coast envy', but put it somewhere appropriate.

No doubt, it will price locals out of going there anyway, like the ski park, $50 an hour.


portmultimedia said...

I believe I am about as environmentally aware as most if not more so and I think this proposals impact on the environment would not even be a pinhead compared to what ends up in the inlet down at Portsmith... until they take seriously what ends up washing into the inlet at Portsmith don’t talk to me about a stand alone recycled water adventure park attraction killing the reef and river system... the cane does more damage to the waterways around here than a semi-closed reticulated water treatment system will ever cause. We are talking about a major piece of tourism infrastructure that will create hundreds of local jobs and get used by both locals and visitors alike day in day out for many years to come. Everyone keeps quoting the chief planners report and uses that as a dooms day trigger for this project but in reality, when the chief planner makes a recommendation on a project it merely means the project has not met certain criteria pertaining to the codes that apply to that ‘zone’. These criteria are just a series of ‘interpretive guidelines’ and for every regulation yin there is a regulation yang. The planner just applies everything yin that he deems relevant and each issue then gets addressed via yang until a resolution (what ever the case) is agreed on.

Northern Beaches Warrior said...

As many others have said, we (regular bloggers) are not necessarily against the idea of a waterpark, it is just the current location.

The Clifton Beach Shopping centre site was also the wrong location.

Every year, it too goes underwater!!

What do you mean I hear you ask?

Well, the geological engineers, Council, Sno Bonneau and the then owner, Frank Vita built the shopping centre on what was a seasonal creek. Yes, the bulldozers came out, bulldozed in the creek, and built a great big shopping centre on top.

I'll tell Factman and all the other stupid people just what happens when you build in an area that is ill suited.......

Well, every year when it rains, and the seasonal creeks fill up with water and the water table in Clifton Beach rises to the surface, then so it comes abubbling up through the underground car park. The whole car park underneath fills up with about 5-8cm of water. The cement floor has cracks many mms in width in a grid-like pattern of about 1m square, all over it, where the water has forced its way to the surface, split the concrete and no doubt is rotting the foundations below.

I was there on friday and noticed that the area around some of the cracking is now turning a rusty brown colour, so it would seem that the steel re-inforcing is now rusting, and this rusty water is now also coming to the surface and stainging the floor of the car park.

Do not be surprised if that shopping centre falls down some time soon. It is less that 5 yrs old.

So I hope I have answered some of those who thought that it would be OK to build a waterpark and let it go under water every year......

It is not OK to build something that is going to pose another significant public risk.

We have enough of those already!

Mary-Anne Lindsay, Cairns said...

Oh PortMultimedia, that last rant isn't from you again unless your ability to write logical language has matched Freebody's?

We can all see through it and it's such a shame that you would drop to his level.

Again, very few are saying don't build a venture like this. We are just saying that the location is the wrong place.

"Your" argument suggests that your can understand a senior professional experts report and the recomendations.

Your argument is right out of the mouth of sad loney Freebody. Do yourself a favour, and don't reprint anymore of his incoherant dribble that doesn't make sence.

Jude Johnston said...

Northern Beaches Warrior, you know that there are no creeks in Clifton Beach, only drainage easements, so you can bulldoze and build over these no problems. It is interesting to watch the water bubble up through the concrete though, and when it does rain, the runoff pours out down Escape Close, whereas before it just used to soak into the ground. The roof isn't that crash hot either when it rains, buckets outside Coles to catch the water, and as for the floors??? Sorry getting off topic, next time you drive past the proposed water park, remind yourself it has to be built above Q100 and then look at the flood level road markers.

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

Heavens above, Paul Freebody's Lover - what loyalty! What blindness - sad. Before I go any further, I would suggest that you, PFL, have got no nearer to the Hindu concept of karma than you have to an honest pollie. It's 'karma' with a 'k', not a 'c', dear.

Secondly, if PFLover & any other naysayers above would like to educate themselves as to why the site of this project is totally inappropriate, I suggest you go back to the Ross Parisi article (on the Blog) of September 2nd entitled 'Moratorium on development in the Barron River and Thomatis Delta'. This article actually gives the REASONS why such a development, in such a place, is a nonsense.

As other writers above have noted, such a development could be put elsewhere in Cairns that is not prone to flooding, & would not cause such an ecological & building disaster to the Barron River Delta as the current proposal does.

Factman has obviously not taken his meds recently - a water park, Facto, apart from the water, consists of slides, rides, kiosks, dunnies, staff buildings, ie. infrastructure of all sorts which need to stay dry. And the punters won't come if they have to walk through a couple of feet of water for a 'fun' afternoon.

And lastly, perhaps a separate topic, is why, when disagreeing with opinions, that the disagreers, when (usually) they've run out of fact or theory, resort to denigration & name-calling, eg.. PFLover above "I will say that most of the people who comment on this blog are nobody's [sic] who have done nothing in life & never will".

Here, I'm not picking on PFLover, but rather, making a comment about public comment in Australia, in general. This stuff happens all the time: not just here on the Blog, but take a look at the TXT messages in the Compost. Think about Sandilands' recent comment about Magda Subanski & concentration camps. Think (Blog) Bryan Law & Syd Walker at loggerheads (a case for a professional mediation if I've ever seen - get it together guys)

In Australian media culture there seems to be some expectation that if one insults another, then the insulter is somehow 'winning' the argument against the insultee. Whereas, usually the argument has ceased, & the insulters comments simply becomes a rant.

I dare say this goes back to convict society, & not 'dobbing' on your fellow convict. Additionally, I think that the 'negative comment' aspect of media response in Oztralia has a lot to do with us still being a young [white] culture, whereas in Europe, such comments would not even be published. OK, a generalism, but I think a truism.

OK, enough. Time for MY meds. I realise I've somewhat insulted Factman above. Then again - he's SO silly.....

Zanzara said...

Portmultimedia and Paul Freebody, if your English grammar is any guide to your other skills then we are doomed and can understand why you would put your 'Gold Coast' look alike in the middle of a n old Barron River channel.

My advice to you is to go and do some homework on your grammar and business acumen.

Verdant Cairns (via Twitter) said...

We have natural water park GBR and also rainforest waterfalls. Plus sugarworld. Sad if people prefer man made to natural.

nocturnal congress said...

Sigh!! English grammar, interpretive and analytical skills are on the decline, folks. It's why people believed in "weapons of mass destruction" and why they love Sno Bonneau. It's why they believe "sex tourism" in the Asian countries is the sole action of "sick" single men, and not married men hiding behind their shopaholic wives. It's wny they believe Sept. 11 was caused by Iraqi Al Qaeda operatives trained by Suddein Hussein.......
The English language is being changed to the primitive language of neanderthals....

Ross Parisi said...

Paul Freebody, we are not interested in your spin on recycled water that would operate your adventure park.

That is no big deal really. Your spin dudes need to address the real issues not feel 'good stuff'

Please address the issues of how would you inhibit the flow of flood water through your park considering your park is located smack bang in the middle of an old river bed.

If levee banks are your answer how would that effect down stream, upstream and adjacent farmers.

Why did you choose this spot in the first place?

As a corporate citizen and an ex Councillor do you think you have a responsibility to the overall orderly management of the Barron River Delta?

The above observations/queries are where you should address your attention.

We need answers not spin!

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

No cooee from Paul yet - where are you, Paul, Paul, Paul . . . . .

Factman said...

Just because the Manager, Development Assessment has recommended against this development does not mean it will not be approved.

And because this park does not "conserve or enhance the scenic landscape of the City which includes the significant qualities of the rural landscape", or, "is contrary to Desired Environmental Outcome 2.3.4 Preservation of Resources in as much as the proposed development does not protect natural resources such as good quality agricultural land from the adverse effects of urban development", or "the development does not constitute the establishment of outdoor
recreation based on the appreciation of the natural or rural environment".

The Councillor's may decide that the resulting few millimetres of inundation over some cane fields every 100 years does not rate against the benefits this park will bring to Cairns.

As Cr Schier has stated regarding the Caravonica Flood Mitigation works just completed ...

"Mayor Val Schier said that the scheme, which was jointly funded by Local, State and Federal Government, helps provide protection from future flooding for the 460 homes which were effected by the 1967, 1977 and 1979 floods."

Let sanity prevail ... looking at the map you will see that the airport also goes under in a 100 year event.

And that's a fact ...

Ross Parisi said...

Factman, please be factual not just in name!

Landuse applications of such magnitude must not be politicised.

Council's Town Planning Officers are professional servants and have all the facts at their disposal. Their recommendations are usually non biased and are based on facts and not emotion.

Approval of this application against the Town Planning Officer's recommendations would place Council in a difficult legal bind and cost the residents and ratepayers possibly hundreds of thousand of dollars in legal fees and outside additional reports.

It would not be legally sustainable to ask the Town Planning Officers to reverse their report/recommendations to one that would support the application.

Approval of this application against Officers recommendations will establish a legal precedent and may open up the Delta for wholesale developmental pressure.

Finally, the Caravonica Flood Mitigation Scheme with due respect, is a white elephant and a waste of fund unless the levee bank which is Figtree Drive is raised in height and flood gates installed on the northern side of the culverts.
These culverts drain upstream local flood waters and are located in an old Barron River bed. How will Council stop flood water backing up Avondale Creek as they do with ever flood?

Where are the pumps stations located to drain the back up waters that will enter the Caravonica township?

Factman and that's a fact...

Factman said...

Hi Ross ...

All Council Officers that write reports/recommendations to Council do so with the upmost integrity.
I have done such reports myself.
But all reports can accentuate a philosophy, be it ecological, environment, economic or social.
It is then up to the Council of elected representatives to decide if that philosophy is best for Cairns.
They will use the democratic institution established under the principles of Westminster to decide.
Council officers will then, without question, carry out their duties.
And as an old Labor Party political hack, you Ross, will appreciate what "spin" is all about.
You must be awestruck by the high speed rotation that has emulated from Brisbane since the Beatie/Bligh governments came to power.
But I digress. Regarding Caravonica.
If you read Mayor Val's comments on Council's official website you will see that you differ from her.
Her comments were based on Council's consultants report, undertaken by Connell Wagner Consulting Engineers. They undertook extensive modelling of the Barron River drainage system and hence the mitigation works recently completed.
They obtained their engineering expertise the hard way, by degree from university, not by being elected as a council rep.
Now, if you would like to come and see me at Council, I will show you the latest map of 100 year inundation for the Barron Delta.
This overlay takes into account a lot more factors than ever before including the effects of global warming. Then you will have the latest “facts”, not ones that are 30 years out of date.
Back to the Freebody water park.
It will be comforting to think that while the hospital and airport are inoperable and underwater, the kids will still enjoy sliding down the slippery slopes at the water park in Dillon Road, Smithfield, if Council approve it


The Essence of Good Taste said...

I'm interseted to see the VERY small col/cm space given to the planning report on this development in today's paper. Not even a pic. I would have thought given the space priority the development has been given previously, the Post would have been a much louder voice giving this information to residents

nocturnal congress said...

The dear old "Compost" will give it front page banner headlines if the Council rejects the application. Then there will be a sanctimonious editorial berating the Council for not providing jobs....

Ross Parisi said...

Factman, thank you for your explanation on when you believe Councillors should override officers recommendations.

You state inter alia:
"It is then up to the Council of elected representatives to decide if that philosophy is best for Cairns."

Philosophies and Visions are best left enshrined in Statutory documents such as Town Plans etc. Whenever, those Statutory documents come up for renewal that is the time to revisit you philosophy and vision.

Stability and consistency is paramount at all levels of Government particularly more so at the local level.

While Councillor discretion is something Councillors fight hard to retain, if applied capriciously it can be counter productive and may lead to corruption, vis the Wollongong Council.

Application of the law even in Town Planning matters is based primarily on precedents. If Council at its whim were to override Officer's recommendation then where does it stop. One does not have to be a Philadelphia Lawyer to cite a precedent to argue that the Appeal should be upheld.

Further into your commentary you state the following:

"And as an old Labor Party political hack, you Ross, will appreciate what "spin" is all about".

This is a little disingenuous Factman. For your information I have never been a member of the Labor Party.

Politically, I am Independent and have been so for over 30 years. Generally, I do believe that all political parties espouse some positive aspects. As an Independent one does have the ability to remain loyal to your constituents.

I supported Val in the last election because it was time for a change and I was concerned in the direction Kevin Byrne was taken Cairns and his style of administration.

Finally, Caravonica 'Flood Prevention' Levee Bank.

As a born and bred local I have waded through the 1967, 1974, 1977, 1979, 1982 and the most recent 1999 flood and I know first hand the extent of the flooding. Three of those floods occurred while I was a Councillor on Mulgrave.

The recorded flood heights and the flooding behavour have not altered with the passage of time. The data is still accurate even after 30 years!

If anything Climate change will exacerbate the flooding in the Delta.

The recently constructed Levee bank will be useless in preventing inundation of Caravonica unless Figtree Drive roadway that acts as a levee bank is raised and flood gates added to the culverts.

Caravonica predominately built on a dormant Barron River bed will be inundated with back up water from Avondale Creek which for all practical purposes is the dormant Barron River.

I rest my case!