Tuesday 6 October 2009

Work starts on waterpark, flouting any approval

Yesterday morning a dormant excavator on the Dillon Road site of the besieged waterpark proposal, burst into life, as an act of frustrated defiance at Council's deferral.

The sudden activity on the property yesterday was cause for concern by neighbouring properties yesterday. Speaking with a local farmer yesterday, I was told that such work cannot occur without proper consent.

"I doubt this man has any permission to interfere with the contour of the land," he said. "It appears that he's trying to dig a channel and redirect the creek system that runs through the property."
Former city councillor Paul Freebody has owned the land for nearly three years, and is seeking permission by Cairns Regional Council to build a waterpark on the land. Simon Clarke, Council's manager of Development Assessment said the project should not go ahead on the site. His 80-page report detailed a raft of reasons why the site is not suitable for commercial development as it is graded agricultural, with development having both upstream and downstream effects.

However, Paul Freebody's defence of the major points in the assessment manager's report was that it's permissible to build in the Barron Delta provided "it has no adverse affects on neighbouring properties."

"Our flood modelling has clearly demonstrated that this project will meet the criterion of a 1 in 100 year flood event and will have no adverse affects on neighbouring properties," Freebody wrote in an open letter.

So who do you believe about the effect the annual wet season flooding will have? The developer, who is desperately seeking approval, or the planner and engineers who have taken their guidance from the CairnsPlan which sets the minimum guidelines for working within the Barron Delta?

In attacking the objections, Freebody claims that this site is the only "financially viable option." "Our feasibility study clearly reflects the north side of Cairns is the only location that is viable due to its close proximity to other tourist attractions," Freebody said on the weekend. Well this is not at all the case. There is substantial land available around the region that would better suit this type of project, and would probably not cause an iota of objection.

Freebody wants his baby approved on this site because he bought it yonks ago and wants to realise a return and a profit. Full stop. He doesn't get a dam, or a 'bund wall' for that matter, what happens to neighbouring properties, nor would he have a clue what the river system in full flood will do to his own investment. I'll be shocked if any financial institution would bankroll this hair-brained scheme and literally throw millions into the middle of a river system.

The same would go for Council if the majority vote for approval, they will then be the caretakers for many subsequent problems that Freebody will demand help for. Council has an obligation for the existing area and local residents to consider in their impact assessment. Councillors would be foolish to ignore Clarke's rationale.

The large stagnant lagoon, a remnant from the failed Vic Hislop's Shark Show that can been seen from the Captain Cook Highway, appears to be the target for the creek diversion. One of the photos shows the creek bed leading to the lagoon being interfered with by the excavator.

Substantial mounds of soil can be seen deposited near the excavator.

Whilst a land-owner is allowed to clean up debris from land, there are strict regulations that prohibit tampering of the land profile without Council approval. This is reinforced by the fact that the site is not a field currently in an agricultural pursuit.

The dilapidated building on the site that housed Vic Hislop's business, is now a serious cyclone risk and should be completely removed.

I would call on Council inspectors to make an urgent visit to the site today, to ascertain the extent of the excavation being carried out on the land.

Council will consider the waterpark application at the next Planning and Environment meeting on Wednesday 14th October.


The Headless Horseman said...

Another Cairnsblog scoop. If you want to read it first, read Cairnsblog. Well done, Michael.

meter maid said...

It's OK everyone. I checked the excavator and it has a little green bag on the dash...

Holland said...

Scoop? This blog hasn't scooped anything. It's posted a few photos of heavy machinery in the middle of a paddock with no comment from the land's owner.

To its credit, though, it does include a convenient bit of unqualified guesswork from a local "farmer". After all, they are the authorities on development approval protocols.

This post has made no attempt to verify any of its claims. It's a powerfully one-sided attack from one "man" against another.

Clifton Ratbag said...

It should be noted that Phil Hartwig has been employed to do this "cleanup" work.

Phil Hartwig - Division 10's most well known environmental terrorist.

Ross Parisi said...

Typical behaviour of an insincere and arrogant person.

Apologise on the one hand for the ill tempered sexist and offensive language, directed towards the female Councillors while with the other hand continues to run rough shod while Council is deliberating on his application.

A person with such behaviour is not worthy of the Council special consideration.

We certainly do not need him as part of our Marlin Coast Community

Homophobe helpline said...

oooohhh Dutchy, watch out for the "men" they're comin to get ya!

Unknown said...

Hey Mike,

Were you able to get hold of Freebody for a comment?

Brad M said...

LOL Nicky, the real question is, would he be able to print any of comment!

NQ Lager lover said...

Vic Hislops Shark show was pretty good I thought. I visited it years ago. However, Vic himself probably sat, sipping a few NQ Lagers of an arvo looking at that lagoon out the front and wondered if he actually had live sharks in there, his business may have succeeded further.

So, in the end, Vic packed up and headed south, where he sipped on a few Brisbane Bitters whilst pulling danger sharks out of the Gold Coast waterways.

Gee I miss NQ Lager.

nocturnal congress said...

Re NQ Lager....I thought it was shite...but we had a damned good television jingle to promote it...
"...old man sun spends his winters here, and guess what? we got our own beer..." I can still remember the old brewery in Spence Street....sigh...memories...memories...

NQ Lager lover said...

Good memory nocturnal. A mate of mine has that jingle on 7inch single would you believe?! And if you go to You Tube and type in 'Cairns draught', you'll get to see the old Cairns Draught ad from the late 80s. Its a ripper.

None of this has anything to do with Freebody, other than that he wouldn't know what we're talking about because he wasn't here then.

Paul Freebody's Lover said...

These are old photo's!! no work has being going on there!! another one of old mike's story's to promote his grubby litte site. I wonder what would happen if we spent as much time as Mr Moore snooping in peoples live's what we could find in his past? i dont think he has ever said a nice thing about anybody in town it's amazing he can even leave his home without stones being chucked at him.

Unknown said...

Couldn't find the Cairns Draught ad, but will continue searching...

Some nice clips when you type in Cairns Yacht Club (sorry about the self-promotion)

Trevor Herrington said...

Paul Freebody's Lover, you are dead wrong my friend. No amount of false spin will get you out of this one. We are waiting for an apologise from Mr Paul Freebody.

You see I took the photos and there are more to come showing your Excavator broken down. The photos that YOU dispute were taken on Monday 05.10.2009 at 12:51pm

What you need to explain to the Community is how are you going to fund your $35 million project and provide all these jobs that you claim your project will generate when you appear not to have the financial liquidity to own an Excavator in working order.

On Tuesday while you were operating the Excavator digging an illegal channel it lost its tracks thereby rendering it useless.

Why don't you have orange protection fencing around the site?

Its time for the Work and Health Department to issue a 'stop work order' before someone is injured.

I also call on Council to issue a show cause notice why you should not be prosecuted for altering the contours of the land without first obtaining Council approval!!

Clifton Ghost said...

If it is Phil Hartwig from Palm Cove and the infamous Foley Road developmentthat is doing these earthworks,then anything goes.

Phil has completely removed a whole mountainside at Palm Cove and some, supposedly to build 11 million-dollar house lots. In three years of his continual gouging of this land, he has not sold one block and caused enormous enviromental damage to that site, interferred in the adjacent water course etc.

The man should be banned from this kind of work full stop! He also did earthworks for hillslope areas of Red Peak estate apparently and that speaks volumes to as to the caliber of his work.

I am glad his old machinary broke down as that will be the only thing that stops this madman!