There are some very good reasons why the Development Assessment manager at Cairns Regional Council said no to building a large tourist venture on the Barron River Delta.
For those that wonder what all the fuss is about when questioning the site for the waterpark, well, it's all about water. Lots of water. Millions of cubic metres of water.
Every two or three years we get a substantial flood in the Far North, thanks to the Barron River. Every 10 years we get a huge flood, thanks to the Barron River. Then there's the 20 year one, 50 year, and so on. Back in the late 70's, there were three successive floods that caused widespread damage. You could have taken a boat from the Smithfield roundabout to Lake Street in North Cairns.
That's why we've called for a moratorium on development in the Barron River and Thomatis Creek Delta. Council need to stop incremental development in this area. The CairnsPlan is clear. The delta is suited for agricultural purposes and not for tourist ventures.
It would be a strong and intelligent Council that, instead of refuse Freebody's application, tell him they support the venture, but not on that site. Send a clear message that his development proposal is not at all suited to this site. The Council could also actively work with him to find a suitable area.
It will be a bold and strong Council that says no.
It will be a bold and strong Council that says yes, we'll support this venture, however not in this location.
It will be a bold and strong Council that upholds the CairnsPlan.
It will be a bold and strong Council that says we won't allow you to use abusive and derogatory language against our female Councillors, then demand we support you (more on that later).
You see, Paul Freebody bought this land for around half a mill two or three years ago, complete will bulldozer, and now he's basically seeking retrospective approval to use it for whatever he likes. Don't you think this is about face? He really should have sought permission first, and then purchased the land.
This is why Council has produced such substantial and detailed flood modeling. Via our rates, we have spent millions creating this information over the last 20 years. In fact a lot of the CairnsPlan was developed, designed and signed off when Paul Freebody was a Councillor. He actually endorsed the CairnsPlan. Now it doesn't suit him.
You see when Paul purchased the land, his comrade Kevin Byrne was running the show and he thought then his water pipe dream was a shoe-in.
Freebody says in his Cairns Post-sponsored advert this weekend, that his feasibility study clearly reflects that the north side of Cairns is the only location that is viable. "83% of visitors head north of the city," a number of his entire invention.
Visitors have come to Far North of Queensland for over 150 years. They are drawn and lured by the Great Barrier Reef, where the over-whelming majority leave from the city wharf terminal. The balance head to Port Douglas and then further explore the Daintree rainforest. People visit Cairns for the natural wonders of the world, not mad-man-made ones.
Any waterpark will only be successful if locals regularly patronise it. The substantial growing population in the Southern corridor is the ideal location for such a venture. The soon-to-be constructed Southern town centre at Mt Peter, with adjoining cane fields, is a fair way from the beaches and therefore would be a great draw-card.
To suggest that tourists are going to come half-way around the world to play in a water park in Cairns, is beyond a joke.
NB: The rest is a private note only to Cairns Regional Councillors. (please, this is not for anyone else, so look away now. Go make a cuppa or feed the cats.)
If you need one reason, and only one, to say no to the use of the Barron River Delta, then get your copy of the CairnsPlan and open to the ARI Flood overlays. Go on, do it.
The flood inundation overlay identifies the general location of the 100 ARI year flood event, based on the findings of the relevant flood studies and stream management plans, Council states.
Also, do yourself a favour Councillor: visit the Dillon Road site before the meeting on Wednesday 14th October where you will have to consider changing the precedent for building on the Barron River Delta. It's a massive change of direction. Drive around the area and talk to the local farmers and let them tell you why this patch of land ain't no weekend picnic.
You are meant to be our voice around the Council table, and your decisions will have long-term impacts. Peter Todd at Clifton Beach and his neighbours can tell you about the horrible legacy they've inherited from the last Council that recklessly allowed foolish town planning.
Click on the PDF overlay and you will be able to zoom in to see the extent of the predicted floods.