Tuesday 27 October 2009

Cochrane updates waterpark conditions

Just like the last time the waterpark proposal went before Council, the day before Councillor Cochrane has again sent around a rather of last minute amendments to the development application.

"I am just putting together the document for presentation in the Chamber tomorrow, which will be based on the officer’s alternative conditions for approval/ recommendation document," Margaret Cochrane wrote just before 4pm.

"The main change is the amendment to design with the levy bank condition. There are only a couple of points changed from the officers edition which will be addressed."

In fact there are 47 new conditions, following the original rejection by Cairns Regional Council's Development Assessment Manager, Simon Clarke.

You can download the full new conditions that will be presented to today's Council meeting.

Significant relaxation of the car parking requirements have been presented, in what appears to be a negotiated deal struck with the proponent Paul Freebody. They have halved the onsite vehicle parking from the original 700 demanded in the original planning document.

The use of the Barron Delta for this large scale commercial development will open an uncontrollable floodgate to future applications that will be difficult to reject.

Ironically, the waterpark application will arrive at the Council table at the same time as a Gold Coast-like theme park, that will include a large waterpark, called the Tropical Paradise Resort is getting the go ahead. This project has been declared a 'significant project' by the State Government and is planned for the south side of Cairns, and not on a flood plain like Freebody's wet dream on the Barron River Delta.

It's interesting to note that the proponents of the Tropical Paradise Resort project researched many other other sites. They had looked at and ruled out large lots of land available between Machans and Smithfield because of the significant annual flooding issues. Why any serious business person, investor or finance institution would want to throw millions and build a large commercial development in the middle of a major river system, is ludicrous.

The plan has been around since 2006 and the fact that it has been declared a 'significant project' means that it has been taken out of the hands of Council and will be handled by the State instead.

With this in mind, Councillor's would have to question whether the proposed water park at Dillon Road would be viable, given such backing by the State Government.

However, I will be very disappointed if any of the female Councillors support Paul Freebody that he attacked in such a vile and despicable way just a few weeks ago live on radio.

The 9 minute 20 second telephone interview was a hate-filled angry rant, probably the worst outburst from a sulking developer this town has ever seen.

In it he called those that didn't support his plan as the "five witches or bitches from east side." Paul Freebody said Councillor Julia Leu was "unsuccessful as a CEO when Port Douglas [Shire Council] went under," and went on a rampage against Councillor Kirsten Lesina, who defeated him at the polls in March 2008.

"The only one that is negative, and always negative, is Kirsten Lesina because - I mean, I don't know what the problem is with this young kid, but she hasn't got a clue," Freebody screamed on radio. "I mean, how this city voted in some of these people is beyond me. And I pray that we learn at the next election that councils do make a huge difference in economics of a city. And when you put dumbos in there, you're going to get poor results."

He accused Mayor Val Schier and Councillors Di Forsyth, Kirsten Lesina, and Julia Leu, and Nancy Lanskey, as all failed in life.

Such personal sexist attacks have been a hallmark of his modus operandi for many years. No one, lest of all the female Councillors, should accept this is a way to conduct business.

It looks like Freebody will get approval today, however this doesn't mean the project will proceed. He will negotiate privately away many of the extra conditions, and you can expect that he will simply sell the land on with "approved for development" after he sees the affects of flooding over the next couple of years.

It is a very foolish Councillor that will accept a proposal of this nature and allow development in a known flood plain. However it seems the tactics of bullying, sexism and intimidation are not only acceptable but way of getting your way with this weak Council.


Thaddeus said...

You could be right there Mike.
Freebody's "proposal" may be just that...simply a way of making a lot of money from selling the land after it receives Council approval.
As I understand it, he bought the land dirt cheap. He may never have had any intention of actually going ahead with the "Water Park" - that could have been a cover for a more nefarious business transaction. So..he gains Council approval, then sits on it for a couple of years and then sells it for a big profit to a Hong Kong/Singaporean/Chinese corporation. After the sale, if anyone asks why he didn't go ahead with his project, he blames some of the current Councillors for being "obstructionist". All too easy!!!!

Jude Johnston said...

He has his water park. Council voted to approve it this morning.
Crs Lesina, Leu, Forsyth, Schier against the remainder voted for it.

Paul Freebody Lover! said...

UP THE WATERPARK!!! It's about time common sense prevailed! Don't cry now mikey... Whoohoo!

Candid Kamara said...

Mike - in the interview Paul Freebody said Councillor Julia Leu was "unsuccessful as a CEO when Port Douglas [Shire Council] went under.". What's so wrong with that statement?

You also quote: "The only one that is negative, and always negative, is Kirsten Lesina because - I mean, I don't know what the problem is with this young kid, but she hasn't got a clue," Freebody screamed on radio.

I think 'screamed' is a tad over the top. I don't hear much screaming on the audio.

I know a blog is based on opinion, but you seem keen to dismiss other people's opinion when it doesn't suit your agenda.

Matt Heirink said...

I notice that in today's Cairns Post story about the new big theme park proposal, that Cr Paul Gregory is quoted as saying that he "was sceptical of the project going ahead.. because the proposal was in the rural landscape area of the Far Northern 2031 regional plan".

Yet on the same day he made that statement, he has voted against planners' advice to approve Freebody's waterpark, which has exactly the same constraint.

Desley Boyle's much-heralded new Regional Plan has now been soundly ignored by Council at the first available opportunity. I wonder what the State Government has to say about that.

People need to realise that this vote is a Material Change of Use, from Rural to Tourist development status. This change brings an enormous increase to the value of the property. Effectively, Council has gifted Freebody millions of dollars by today's vote.

Tony Hillier said...

I wonder how the professional (planner) in question feels about his expert advice being ignored. All power to the female councillors (minus Cooper and Cochrane, of course) for having the guts not to succumb to Peabody's and the ComPost's shallow PR campaign.