Rodney Hudson, a 15-year old schoolboy, may have saved the day for waterpark developer of Paul Freebody.
Hudson set up a Support For A Cairns Water Park FaceBook page just a few weeks ago, and within days, over 7,500 "supporters" joined up. There's now just over 8,000 members of the Facebook group.
However, in an interview with ABC's new drive presenter Ginger Gorman, a self-described gypsy, Rodney admitted that a lot of the supporters were not from Cairns. Gorman, with a unique high-pitched voice, lined up the schoolboy against Mayor Val Schier, who was simply not prepared with a decent answer when it came to tourism ideas.
Here's the interview...
- Dear Miss Val Schier,
I aa 15 year old Cairns resident currently attending Trinity Bay State High.
I have noticed in the last few wweks some discussion about Mr Paul Freebody planning on building a Water Park at Smithfield. I also noticed that the council rejected permission to construct this water park due to flooding, environmental and planning concerns and although considering these factors is a great part in protecting the Cairns community from over development and potentialy threatening the Great Barrier Reef, as far as the public is aware the council has not proposed another site for a Water Park to be built.
The Adventure Waters Water Park be ideal for Cairns. With Cairns' unemployment rate alarmingly high at the moment and the Global Financial Crisis, this Water Park would create many jobs and help boost tourism within the Cairns region and with Cairns being a tropical environment tourists are always looking for a way to cool off. I have also noticed a bit of discussion about tourism in Cairns recently, with a Ukulele Festival being proposed as an anual event to attract tourists to Cairns.
While this idea is supported by a few Cairns residents and strongly by the yourself, there have been a lot more residents disagreeing with this idea as Cairns' way to attract more tourists to the region. A Water Park would attract a lot of tourists to the Cairns region and it could easily be themed with the Great Barrier Reef which is what most tourists come to Cairns to see. And the ukulele festival could still go ahead as the Water Park is a private project by Mr Freebody and won't come at much, if any, cost to Cairns.
I have taken it upon myself to start a facebook page for people that support the idea of Adventure Waters Water Park as facebook is an easy way for people to express their opinions on topics and often get a point accross. There hav well over 2500 people so far that support this idea from around Cairns and from people that would visit Cairns if it had a Water Park.
I strongly reccomend you take a minute to start a facebook page easily accessible by people of the Cairns Community so that u can easily be contacted and people would feel a more personal relationship with you. And after that it would greatly be appreciated if you took some time to look at the page and see what the people of the cairns community think about having a Water Park. I know you have a busy schedual and may not be able to do this but as i mentioned it would be greatly appreciated. To access the page you will need a login for facebook and go to the following link.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I am looking forward to your response,
[NB: copied as per original letter]
..and the Mayor's reply...
- Hello Rodney
Thanks for your email and for taking the initiative to start up a facebook page. I will certainly take your views into consideration.
I’m not sure where you got the idea that the council has “rejected permission to construct this water park” as that statement is not correct.
The council actually voted unanimously to defer a decision on the proposal until there could be further consideration of some issues related to flooding and car parking. We could have voted on it this week but I understand that Mr Freebody himself has postponed the application going to council until 28th October.
You have brought the ukulele festival proposal into the debate; the people behind this initiative will do the same as Mr Freebody and put forward a proposal that council will vote on depending on how it fits into our corporate and land use plan. People running the Jazz/Blues festival will do the same thing as will other developers who have proposals that they want Council to consider.
I’ve had a Facebook page for years Rodney and people often use that as a medium to contact me and to give me their points of view.
Cr Val Schier
Mayor, Cairns Regional Council
"No my father didn't write the email. I know that you may not believe that a 15 year old is capable of writing an email like that, but it was written by me with absolutely no help or input from my father," Rodney said. "If you read the email again you will see that i didn't at any point mention her ideas as being 'stupid'. I simply stated the truth that there are more people that disagree with the ukulele festival as the way to attract Cairns' tourists."
"And lastly, the site at which the water park will be built is not going to put any place at risk of flooding. The concerns by the council were that the park wouldn't have enough parking spaces and that it may be flooded... not Yorkey's Knob. I dont see why everyone is getting so worked up about the location on the water park," Rodney Hudson says. "Where it gets put is up to Mr Freebody... all we are waiting for is Council to give it the go ahead. There is no way Council would ever let a major water park be built in South Cairns because they would lose their money from sugar world because everyone would be going to the bigger water park."
Here's some of the banter from the Facebook page...
Jim McMann wrote on October 12...
- I think everyone is favour of a waterpark. Just not in this location.Freebody was offered other, more appropriate locations adjacent to Skyrail. He refused. Freebody is a greedy bastard, odd for someone who claims to be a "born-again Christian". And anyone that thinks this is a "tourist attraction" has rocks in their head.
NO ONE is going to come to Cairns for a water park, especially a lame little one like is proposed when there is a huge, spectacular water park at the Gold Goast. No construction should be allowed in the Barron River floodplain.
- This won't be built, get used to it. Freebody is an arsehole. Unless he moves somewhere else it won't be built, not by him anyway. The good news is, it wasn't going to be built with his money anyway, so maybe the company putting the money up will do it off their own back.
I support a water park, and have done for many years, but NOT where Freebody wants to put it, on a bit of cheap, flood prone agricultural land he bought years ago.He was caught last week trying to alter the course of a creek on the site, only a broken track on the digger stopped him.
The man is an arsehole, have any of... you read or heard the remarks he made about the female councillors?The water park should be constructed in Edmonton or Gordonvale, not where dickhead wants to put it.
- WOW over 7300 hits and nearly all supporting the Park. Thanks to everyone for their great support! Just for the record if my memory serves me correctly Rikk Altree was sacked for stealing from our business! Hence his rude comments on this site.
- why would we support another paul freebody project, he didnt care for cairns when a councillor, now he wants council to fast track his project.
- I think there is a deliberate reason why tourists aren't encouraged to the south side of Cairns... quite simply it isn't very nice down there. Someone mentioned that we should be letting the tourists see 'what the rest of Cairns has to offer'... all the southside has to offer is graffiti and low-bud...get housing developments. The southside simply doesn't have what is required to support or even supplement a tourist market.
- yep we need somrthing like this in Cairns increase our unemployment
- I think Council will approve you Paul but i think they will garnt approval for a limited time period (18 months from date of approval to be up and running) and with you as the developer to see if you keep to your word.. I think that would be fair...cos you said some things in the heat of battle and whilst they cannot stop the people wanting this... they definitely want you to fall on your arse unfortunately.
- Mustnt be enough in it for the councilors to take positive action over it. You can bet your last dollar that if it effected them directly it would be pushed to the top of the adjenda ASAP and decided on that night just like their pay rises.