Sunday 27 September 2009

In orderly development - Barron and Freshwater Delta

Cairns Regional Councillors Bonneau, Blake and Cochrane are regular readers of CairnsBlog, to get a feel of the community mood.

However, Public advocate for an orderly development on Barron and Freshwater Delta, Ross Parisi, says they have their own agenda.

Notwithstanding the mood, Councillors Bonneau, Blake and Cochrane have their own agenda to implement and will not deviate. In essence they are yesterday people, stuck in a rut. Whereas, the community has moved on and is mindful of orderly development and becomes irate when abuse of power is evident.

The Town Plan they all voted for, expresses a philosophy and vision which if applied to the letter of the law protect iconic areas. It highlights the Barron/Freshwater Delta, the Scenic mountain rim, the Wetlands and prime agricultural land, for all intents and purposes, as no go areas. Yet, the moment an application is lodged with the Council they are prepared to betray these icons.

They claim their motive to approve developments in these pristine areas as a necessary evil. They use the disturbing unemployment rate as the reason. Of noble intent one might argue. I would argue a spurious and deceitful one.

I remind these recalcitrant Councillors that unemployment as bad as it is, is cyclical. While inappropriate approved developments are there forever. They set the tone for other developers to emulate.

Should Council reject other developmental applications in these iconic areas that are remotely consistent with previously approved application, the Town Planning Courts will consider the refusal as a politically capricious decision. Furthermore, once a legal precedent is established Appellant lawyers readily use the example as evidence that their developmental application should be approved. As well we know, the Judiciary accept precedents as a guide.

Bonneau, Blake and Cochrane need to restate to themselves the Oath of Office every time they deviate from accepted protocols and vote to assist one of their mates.

The community considers it is at the crossroads when it comes to development within these iconic areas. Snubbing the community, holding the community in contempt and disregarding the community’s expectations are indications of arrogance which the community will not tolerate, without electoral consequences.


Al said...

We are a regional city of 130,000 people with an unemployment rate (due to an economic downturn) of over 10%. By using that as justification to allow all/any development - however inappropriate - on the basis of creating jobs, we could, at the next economic downturn, be a regional city of 260,000 ... with an unemployment rate over 10%. Would we have achieved anything other than trashing our planning and environmental credentials and thus degrading our quality of life? Those "Unity" councillors (and I include Bonneau) who do the bidding of sharp developers must think we are stupid!

swinging voter said...

I think Ross had made a very important point which has been perhaps overlooked in the current debate about development of a water park in the Barron River Delta - Councillors stick to your Cairns Plan! Or if you don't intend to, give the community some believable and legally justifiable reasons why you aren't doing so, please.

Factman said...

I'm sorry but there's nothing "ionic" about this particular flood plain. It's just another river entering the sea over a flat area made up from deposits sourced from the Tablelands.
Each time there's a Q20+ flow, the resulting flooding cause’s devastation to the wildlife and fauna in the area.
It is nature’s way of creating a path, (an evolving drainage channel known as meandering), to discharge the precipitation within the Tableland catchment.

And of course the farmers took advantage of the nutrient enriched soil to grow their cane, clearing away most of the existing vegetation. Guess where the dust comes from.

There is nothing in the Cairns Plan that forbids a development of this kind at this location. All the Cairns Plan requires is an evaluation of the effects this development will have on the surroundings.
Is it in keeping with the surrounding environment?
The report says it will add no value to this environment that is cane farming. So what! It will add value to Cairns.
The report did not consider the economic, financial and social benefits.

So how's an itsi-bitsi teeny-weeny water park going to bring havoc to this "ionic" river delta?
"Ionic", "issues" and "awesome", are all overly emotive terms, and are the most over-used words so far in the 21st century.

And that's a fact ...

Tom said...

Well thank you Factman for this insightful contribution. The thing is, this particular river bed would have to meander somewhat differently if someone allows a theme park with a bloody great carpark protected by a levee. And allow one, then why not another? See where I'm going here? That's where Cairns Plan comes in.
PS: Rain in Manila I see.

Yoda said...

We all realise that everyone has the right to their own personal opinion. But is it really appropriate for a council employee to be making comments on such a forum. Could this be seen as slightly unethical? I believe Factman’s position in the council is nothing to do with planning nor the issues involved. So, why then is a council employee not associated with the appropriate department in regards to these matters, giving such personal views about issues which do not concern him, or do they? The reason we have departments that specialise in particular areas (planning) is so they can make educated decisions about the relevant issues in relation to their particular department. Isn’t this why they have successfully gained council employment in planning?

I wonder if he would build a house on this proven flood plain. I also wonder if he has ever considered putting himself in the shoes of the residents, who will gain nothing but unnecessary problems and stress, due to being directly affected by these proposed developments. I am very certain if the shoe was put on the other foot he would most definitely be all for having such an ITSY-BITSY TEENY-WEENY development on his doorstep. Of course, there is nothing that completely forbids such developments in appropriate areas, but residents assume that common sense would prevail in relation to many development applications.

In relation to certain people making statements away from their field of expertise in the council, maybe next time Factman wants his vehicle repaired he should proceed to not the local preferred mechanic, but maybe head to the local veterinary surgery for the appropriate diagnosis and repairs to his vehicle.

Thaddeus said...

Unemployment is probably much higher than the official 10% quoted by authorities anyway. The definition of "unemployed" has changed somewhat and an under-employed person on a few hours a week is now regarded as "employed".
I think you will find Cairns probably has around 15-20% unemployment.

Factman said...

The Cairns Plan does not forbid development such as a water theme park in the Barron Delta.
Until Council takes a position on this development then there is no position, just a planning report for Council to consider.
So all comments are welcome, in a free and open debating world.

Now, all you "hydraulic experts" please answer me this ...

Yorkeys, Holloways and Machans Beach Access roads are all to be "flood-proofed". This undertaking is included in Council's 5 year Capital Works program. Also, Main Roads are committed to "flood proofing" the Bruce Highway.
So, how will these works (raising the level of the roads), be undertaken so as not to raise the back-water in the surrounding farmland ???.

I await somebodies answer.
I bet I don't get one.

Ross Parisi said...

Factman, as the author of the lead article I would like to leave it to others to add further comment but you are so presumptuous that I find it necessary to answer your taunts.

I was on Council when Mulgrave Shire Council backed the concerned farmers and made representations to Russell Hinze, then Minister for Main Roads to lower the height of the proposed four lane Captain Cook Highway to the height that it is today, that is a Q10. We also asked for extra Culverts and that was agreed to as well.

You will note that Thomatis Ck and Barron River bridges are a lot heigher than the approaches. The height of the bridges was going to be the height of the new highway.
The Farmers wanted a via duct all the way from the Barron River at Stratford to Smithfield.

The Minister insisted the Government could not afford it. However, it did agree to the compromise that eventually prevailed and that was the construction of the 'flood free' Western Arterial through Caravonica, Redlynch and Brinsmead.

Flood proofing the Access Road to the mentioned Beaches is a waste of money while the Captain Cook Highway remains at the height that it is toady. Council's 5 year Capital Works programme needs to be revisited with proper Community consultation undertaken.

I am sure if we had effective Federal and State representation then we would stand a better chance of getting a via duct from Stratford to Smithfield, thereby removing the man made levee bank which is the Highway today.

While on this tangent let me remind readers that the last improvements to the Captain Cook Highway was the four lanes to Clifton Beach. No further work has been carried out since the early 80's. It is time for more funding, local reps.

KitchenSlut said...

Factman is a citizen of Cairns Yoda and as far as i'm concerned should not be restricted in his right to comment. You have stated Yoda that this particular issue is not within Factmans responsibilities at Council so whats the problem?

As far as I am aware the definition of 'unemployment' has not changed any time recently Thaddeus although you are correct and more appropriate assessment would be 'underemployment'.

Quien Sabe said...

Culverts and bridges...same as now

Northern Beaches Warrior said...

One of the issues mentioned above about the affect on residents is the lighting of these so called
" ITSY-BITSY TEENY-WEENY " developments.

As houses encroach on the Ski Park at Smithfield, new residents will no doubt be complaining that their houses and bedrooms are flooded by high power lighting shining directly at them.

The residents of Paradise Palms are now subjected to flood lighting of the mini putt put golf course at night as well as 4 star Resort which was built literally metres from resident's homes is lit up like a christmas tree all night.

You cannot say that residents will not be affected, because they will be and continue to be with other inapproprate and unsympathetic development, be it because of lighting issues, undue noise, traffic congestion, flooding etc.

Where is the duty of care to existing residents in these controversial decisions made by Council?

It never seems to fall on the side of residents where Bonneau, Blake or Cochrane and others are concerned. Why is that?

Margaret, you have yet to explain your viewpoint of support re this project and we are all waiting.....

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hieronymus bosch said...

I agree with KitchenSlut, let Factman speak.

Let the people outside of Spence St hear his words of wisdom.

Let the people outside of Spence St understand that it is bureacrats like him that make 98% of decisions that affect rate payers, not the ELECTED councillors.

Let the people outside of Spence St know how conservative, and not representative of a fair cross section of the Cairns community our bureaucrats are!

nah na na na na na na nah FACTMAN

Factman said...

Nick ...

you have just proven what I've been saying.
This argument over the water theme park is all about Freebody, not about it's location.

The park will do no harm whatsoever to the surrounding cane farms.

I am in favour of this development happening, not because I'm a Council employee (on leave today), nor am I a friend of Paul Freebodys

The reasons I wish to see it proceed are

1. It will be an economic and morale boost that Cairns badly needs at the moment.
2. It will enhance the Smithfield entertainment precinct.
3. If we don't take this opportunity and support the entrepreneurs then Townsville will gladly front up and biuld it.

And I speak as a resident within the Barron Delta for the last 15 years.

Unknown said...


It is not about Freebody at all.

I was just taking the piss out of his hysterical outburst on the radio.He abused certain councillors, because they did not agree to push his proposal through council like the previous council did.

The council has received professional planning advice and acted on that advice. What's wrong with that?

According to Freebody they rejected it, because they were bitches, too young and had no business experience. That were his words.I think he is a disgrace for saying that. And maybe someone with a law degree understands planning laws better than a toy salesman ?

I haven't got anything against this water park per se, but obviously the planning department has. This town is full of inappropriate developments that have been pushed through the previous council.

All of course built by business people with vision and passionate about this town !

One of them is currently holidaying in Fiji, while his unpaid subbies go broke. The othere one is apparently setting up shop in PNG..

Smithfield Sam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Factman said...

Nick ... the Council haven't acted upon any advice yet.

A report to Council (prepared by the planning department),was on the agenda for adoption, rejecting the proposal.

Another report was tabled on the day approving the proposal with stringent conditions.
The Councilors then called "time-out" for 3 weeks to study it.

The Councilors will take into account a number of other factors, not just a Town Planners perspective.

And those are the facts.

By the way, I was up at beautiful Lake Tinaroo recently, for the 50th anniversary and I realised that this dam and irrigation scheme would never get a look in today, not with the attitudes prevailing amongst some on this blog.

I'm sorry that you are owed money but don't let that cloud your judgment.

Ross Parisi said...

Factman, you seem to be rather a resourceful person. Harness your energy and apply it in a positive way. At the moment you are trying to defend the untenable.

Why do you not apply your undoubted skills in acting as a mediator. I am sure Freebody would listen to your overtures.
Whether he will put aside his ego to accept your advice is my concern.
Your task is to find a number of alternative sites that are not a flood impediment or creating a threat from diverting flows.

Respectfully for starters, I would suggest one site on the Northern side of the City and one site on the Southern side.

The Adventure Park concept in principle is meritorious. Apart from the pretty colours in the presentation spin documents, its need to be recast as various components have obvious flaws.

The present location is short sighted and has overtones of greed.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jack Rabbit said...

how come pyne was going to vote for this? freebody listed him as the group of councillors who allegedly have business acumen. i heard he was also chummy with blake at the meeting

Anonymous said...

Look Kirsten (sorry Jack Rabbit) you still have to learn to focus on the issues. In your fierce opposition to Margaret and Alan, you prove there is no place for party politics in local government.
Rob Pyne.
PS - Kirsten, sorry if it was another of the Three Amigos (Val, K and Di) who made the post!

Kirsten Lesina said...

Hi Rob,

I'm not Jack Rabbit and I don't know who is. If I had issues with you, I would talk to you, not post anonymous comments on the blog! In fact, I did not think you were named by Paul Freebody as one of the ones prepared to vote for the proposal, but I could be mistaken.

Also, I am not fiercely opposed to Margaret or Alan, I am fiercely opposed to bad decision making processes.


Balaclava Rd Bandit said...

I only wish i was in your electorate Rob not Kirsten. Massive issues in Earlville, in particular on Balaclava Rd and she is nowhere to be seen (oh except in labour party photo opportunities). Oh and she’s off putting bike lanes in silly places.....
How about doing something to help the unemployed in your electorate, or even just do something, ANYTHING, to help those whose rates you voted to increase.

You've got my respect Rob, I don’t always agree with you but I know you do a lot for you electorate and no one is sitting behind you telling you what to say and do. Run for Mayor in 2012 mate.

And if you dont Rob, i think Factman should, but time people started talking some sense on this blog!

Northern Beaches Warrior said...

Paul Nobody is renown for his business acumen, and yet he is relying on the theme park selling itself and solving cairn's uneployment problems of 12%.

Paul, I have told you before, that you need to think laterally think outside the square and value add to your proposal.

You could not only solve the unemployment problems, but you could also;

1. solve the City's parking problems

2. solve the tourist and backpacker illegal parking issues in the city by putting in some free showers and mobile phone power outlets

3. add an 33 extra camping and caravaning sites to make up for the shortfall of camping sites on the northern beaces once Council revamp the Palm Cove caravan park and take away precious sites.

4. Jude Johnstone's suggestion of the monorail is a great one, and that would solve the traffic and transport problems on the northern beaches.

You would be hailed a hero Paul and your credibility restored!!!

Every councillor would vote for it then.....

If I keep coming up with these great ideas, I will have to start charging you as you don't seem to be able to pull this together....but a special price for you Paul seeing as your car wash business seems to be struggling....

Tony Hillier said...

Can I respectfully suggest that all of the above correspondents give serious consideration to airing their views on the ComPost's letters' page. Yes, yes I know the buggers are sometimes inclined not to publish letters that don't conform to their agenda, and that they tend to edit letters, which is immoral in my book, BUT it is really important that the "great unwashed" is exposed to some alternative opinion. If the Letters' Editor is bombarded by intelligent and well-written letters on serious matters that pertain to important local issues that don't get proper coverage in the news pages, he will be forced to publish a selection.

It is high time that the home-spun philosophers, red neck ratbags and bigots that tend to monopolise what could and should be the most valuable page in the newspaper, were given the big H. Make it happen folks .... PLEASE!

concerned said...

Very funny mr. bosch. What a shame though, the lone council employee voice on the blog comments is so blindly pro development. Or is the true tale so sad: that this narrow minded pro development ethos is the general consensus among the council employees?

Hey, Factman why so hung up on that particular location? Isn't it better to avoid the problems associated with this position and have the water park located elsewhere? Or do you feel sorry the developer will not be able to maximise his profits with such a super deal on the price of the land?

Re: your comment on the park being located in the Smithfield entertainment precinct. Isn't that located down the highway a bit? Prime cane land in between the proposed water park and the entertainment precinct just waiting to the snapped up by altruistic developers. Let's fill that entire space along the highway with theme parks. With the water park MCU approved wouldn't the precedent be there? Mini Gold Coast...... super!!

Alison Alloway said...

Good idea Tony. I've checked out the comments on the Water Park issue and most are childish rants full of invective and malice. The overall quality of "debate" is at the rock and tantrum throwing neanderthal slap-head level. The Cairns Post should be monitoring that site more carefully, as it is observed around the world. We need to present a rational, intelligent face to the world.

Ross Parisi said...

Hi all. Tony you have made a wise call. As much as the Cairns Post is generally held in low esteem by Blog contributors it is still widely read.

The other matter that I find disturbing is that the Councillors refuse to use the Blog to express their point of view and chose not engage in a conversation with their constituents.

Come on Councillors pin your colours to the mast!

Jack Rabbit said...

sorry mate, not an "amigo", i'm a queenslander.

just wondering why you usually oppose inappropriate locations for development, but not in this case.

like ross says, pin your colours to the mast.

is there something i'm missing? mostly i agree with you

I Dont Wanna be a Developer said...

On a totally different subect, anyone know if the new Cooya Beach development proposal was approved?

Nick said...

Factman said...
"Nick ... the Council haven't acted upon any advice yet.
A report to Council (prepared by the planning department),was on the agenda for adoption, rejecting the proposal.
Another report was tabled on the day approving the proposal with stringent conditions.
The Councilors then called "time-out" for 3 weeks to study it.
The Councilors will take into account a number of other factors, not just a Town Planners perspective."

Yes exactly, I know all that ( and apologies for not using the correct jargon), so why the hysterical outburst and the abuse ?

" I realised that this dam and irrigation scheme would never get a look in today"

Maybe not. Neither would driving without a seat-belt, asbestos in building materials and lead in paint".

What does that say about the experienced businessman who set it up ?

Nick said...

I want to build a nuclear waste plant in Cairns. It will bring great benefit to the region, especially to me and my associates.It will create lots of jobs and as an added benefit, it will make the reef glow in the dark.

As we speak, the Cairns Post and 4 CA are starting a joint campaign to promote this development.

Anyone who opposes it is either a dumbo or a bitch.

I am an accomplished businessman a background in selling plastic toy guns and washing cars.

Anonymous said...

Firstly to Nick - thanks so much for your posting - I had a really belly laugh over that one.

Hey Rob Pyne - what's the matter, don't you like it when a bit of shit sticks to you. Admit it mate, you WERE prepared to overturn the recommendations of council officers and approve the development with 40 new conditions that no-one had a chance to consider or debate. Your comments about Kirsten Lesina are a dirty nasty little snipe. You are as bad as Freebody because you have the same disrespect for women. What a bloody laugh you being Mayor. You wouldn't be able just vote for all the popular decisions then mate. Frankly I would much rather see Kirsten Lesina running council than you any day.

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

I too endorse Tony Hillier's idea of sending a lot of our Blog correspondence to the ComPost. i must admit in past months, I've just thrown my hands up in dismay & disgust at the level of the ComPost, & pretty-much given up writing letters or contributing to their website.

Mike Moore informed me the other day that you can compose your Blog contributions on Word, & then Cope & Paste on to the Blog. Perhaps some of us could then re-edit our contributions & send them on to the ComPost.

At the very least, it will make the Letters to the Ed person have a brighter day. I heard Alan Hudson was editing Letters, is that still so?

It still amazes me with the ComPost why letter writers have to supply full names & phone nos. etc., whilst txters do not. Perhaps I should write a Letter to the Ed about it?

Point taken, Tony, already.

PS. Hope 'Kamerunga' are doing well?