Thursday 24 September 2009

Post waters down waterpark

BLURRY VISION: The proposed waterpark site this morning, covered in dust and 64 reasons why it's the wrong place to build a recreational facility.

The Cairns Post may have woken from their valium-induced coma.

They seem not to be able to read nor understand that it's rather stupid to build a massive tourism venture in the middle of a river system.

A ten-year-old could work that one out.

"The waterpark proposal for Smithfield would bring hundreds of jobs during and after construction, while diversifying the tourism offering in Cairns," editor Andrew Webster bleats on this morning in his editorial. Yesterday Councillors voted over-whelmingly to not vote on an extra 44-amendments that was shoved in front of them at the last minute yesterday.

He says, on developer Freebody's marching order, that the project would complement the nearby Tjapukai Aboriginal park and Skyrail, etc, creating what he coins a "action-adventure entertainment precinct."

"So far, the idea ticks a lot of boxes, however, as council officers have rightly said, the proposal presents serious issues in relation to flooding in the Barron delta flood plain and could impact surrounding development," Webster says in what is a reality check for the developer.

He rightly comments that Freeboy's waterpark site is contrary to the Far North Queensland Regional Plan, you know, the one that Desley said you all did such a stirling job over.

"It's inconsistent with the description and intent of the Barron-Smithfield district," Webster writes in his editorial today. "The Cairns Regional Council made the right decision in deferring a decision on the proposal, which has been in the pipeline for about three years."

However, he's still hell-bent supporting this on the Dillon Street site. Webster says another two weeks "won’t hurt if the result is a stunning new tourist attraction that adds another string to Cairns’ bow while avoiding the potential long-term pitfalls of building in a flood-prone area."

Well the only way that can happen is if Freebody finds a site that isn't in the middle of the Barron River delta. And why can't he do this? Because he's been offered this chuck of dirt for a few pennies. It's useless for anything beyond farming. He'd have to pay up to four of five times the amount for a similar lot of land on the South side of Cairns, where the growing population around the new south city hub will form. It would be an idea location for such a park.

One prominent city architect told me yesterday after he heard the plan was rejected, said it wasn't the kind of development welcome in the Far North.

"People go to the Gold Coast for that kind of thing, maybe if they put it out where Sugarworld is, out of sight, then it might be okay," he said.

Editor Webster agrees that the final decision might be to reject the proposal.

"Council had better be very sure it has first done everything possible to help the cause."

His own paper this morning reports on page 5, that 200 staff will operate the business, yet Paul Freebody only allocated 30 car parks at the remote location. Planners slammed the design and the crammed infrastructure. They said that at least 700 car parks were needed, leaving little room for a waterpark, just a monster carpark in the middle of cane fields.

Mind you, they'll get get flooded like the stupid car park that services the Cable Ski park every year, and several car get destroyed.

Regardless, nothing will negate the damming conclusions that Simon Clarke, Council's manager of development assessment made in his recommendations. He said that this site is the worst that could have been chosen for such a venture.

Best of luck Mr Freebody, but find a place that meets with community and the Council's approval.


Fiona Tulip said...

Personally, I like the idea of 700 car parks (Presumably free) being built between Northern Beaches and Cairns City.

Currently, I have to constantly move my car during the day to try and find free car parking in the city where I work, because I cannot afford $6 per day for paid parking.

Next year, we are moving into a building for 900 people with only 200 car parks, and as there is already a shortage of car parking down that end of town, because of the Cairns Central paid parking system now, I will be looking for a cheaper option.

I could drive to the Water Park, park my car all day for free and catch the bus for 10 mins into town.

Rather a nice option I think, so Paul, go for it, you have my vote on this one.

Perhaps you should do a campaign and offer a shuttle bus to and from your waterpark to the city, and I am sure, you would drum up enough support to get you over the line before the next meeting. Also, you could put in a car wash and drum up extra business, so that while we are at work, we can also get our cars washed.

Think laterally Paul, think laterally........

Guido the Plumber said...

Fiona, you are so naughty! Fancy taking the mickey out of our Paul. We should welcome him to the Marlin Coast.
Quite seriously though, having heard him on fascist Mackenzie, I think he needs to be committed. He absolutely lost it. He is a treat to social order.
Only he could call the dissenting female Councillors witches/bitches and get away with it. We cant really blame his lack of vocabulary skills for his arrogance. He is plainly ignorant.
Any hope of his scam/con, getting approval will surely have sunk under the flood waters!

Keith Martin said...

I agree with Fiona. The project just lacks real vision for Cairns. Since we don't worry about the planning schemes nowadays, lets get some real action going here.

Forget about a levee around the water park, let's build a levee all the way along the Barron, both sides, from Lake Placid to the mouth. Councillors can do a fact-finding trip to New Orleans. Get DNR to reclassify the Barron as a "drainage feature" - easy.

Think of all the land open to development then. Forget about the little water park - we could have Disneyland out there! Jobs, jobs, jobs!

Jude Johnston said...

I'm with Fiona and Keith, and then there could be a monorail going from the waterpark to the city to pick up the tourists, and doubling as transport for commuters. We could "park and ride".

Mark said...

I'm with Fiona Keith and Jude. The concept is getting better by the minute. Stuff small fry like Freebody, let's hire a consultant!

Fiona Tulip said...

Also another irony Paul, that I forgot to mention in my previous post.....

when it floods, you could have a very large pump and specialist filtration system, so that you could use all that flood water and recycle it for your slide rides.

That would cut down on your CRC water bill and then you could really screw the Council big time.

Such a nice symbiotic relationship you could have going with the enviroment Paul!!! Just think of all the possibilites, they seem to be endless........

No one could then blame you for having an unsustainable development........It would be a win-win situation Paul, so don't give up your dream....

concerned said...

Well, we know that all the people who disagree with the development on environmental grounds are just a bunch of tree hugging nobodies. Come on guys, he attempting this with purely the most altruistic of motives!

After reading the planning officers report, I really feel for the farmer situated close to the proposed development. Imagine having something that size next to your (apparently) rural home and using your access road for farm activities as access for a park expecting some 250,000 visitors in the first year! The wrong spot for the development for so many reasons.

Witches and Bitches Inc. said...

Apart from the wrong tourist attraction in the wrong spot, Freebody has not intention of being there for the 'long haul'

He has had 2 business that I know of and he has kept neither! He builds them and then off loads them to maximise his return. He is a known quitter!

He will stop at nothing to feed his ego. He brought the site for literally a 'song'. Located smack bang in the middle of a productive sugar cane farming area. His project is totally incompatible with the predominant rural pursuit. Will he or who he offloads it to, complain about the use of herbicides, pesticides, dust, tractor and harvesting noise? Will his lack of on site parking interfere with farming operations?

His tirade against the dissenting Councillors, particular the female Councillors, was sexual harassment in nature with the express intention of intimidation and should be referred to the CMC for perusal.

His claim to be a later day Christian is a joke when you hear his lament and says he will pray for their conversion. He shows no tolerance towards dissenting Councillors.

He is the sort of person that needs a reality check. For his own redemption I believe Council should consign his tawdry application to the 'waste paper' bin!