Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Last Sloppy Supper, including Judas

I coughed up $20 from my stimulus handout last night only to be let down by a bad hooker. I should have worn protection.
I, along with 178 of Cairns finest whitefellas and a few fellesses, marched into the chandelier-adorned Shangri La ballroom, only to see Cinderella leave early. And she had the cheek to take both her shoes. Typical woman.
The event: the first public meeting of the illustrious Cairns Forum, sans Kevin Byrne. The topic: A new deal, a new focus. The Panel: Russell Beer (chair, Advance Cairns), Udo Jattke, MD Glencorp), Charles Woodward, MD CAPTA), Prof Sandra Harding, Vice Chancellor, JCU), Stuart Trail, ETU), Richard Ireland MD Irelands), and Danny Betros (MD CB Richard Ellis).
It was billed as bigger than Jesus, the second coming. It was like the last supper all over again. But who was going to betray us?
"Cairns needs you!" screamed the flyer, complete with Lagoon pool photograph. "Come, listen, debate and contribute to the ideas which will build our economy, jobs and community."
'Community' was a typo, and printing error, as this function was all about business. We were told, like an ardent climate change believer, that the world would end as we know it it we didn't get the business world back on its flat feet in Cairns.
Oh, and the Mayor was there. In fact, the organisers kindly allowed her to speak at the last minute. How nice. Val Schier snuggled up next to the only woman on the panel, Professor Harding, who provided the reality check of the night. You see, all the fancy PR and fliers, stories in the Cairns Post, emails out, excluded our first lady Mayor. She changed her schedule for an hour to accommodate the meeting, but then darted off to fill other pre-arranged commitments, in what came across as another pr blunder.
"I would address the vacant mayor, or ex-mayor, if she was here," bellowed one rude Tony Basher from the floor. The so-called moderator, John Mackenzie who runs some radio show on a thing called AM, lead the chorus of sneering and giggling, instead of doing his job. It was another example of Val not having a communications expert or even conveying her actions to the gathering. She could have asked the MC to explain why she had to leave early.
It was reminiscent of a community summit at James Cook University in 2004, when then Mayor Kevin Byrne did the same thing, and pretended to take a phone call, only to walk out the door with no explanation. This wasn't the most important function for Val Schier to attend, however perception breeds an awkward and distorted reality, and it's obvious she operating without support or advice to guide her.
I'll blog separately about the five minute speeches, but it was the gathered audience that made the night. We had Councillor Alan Blake who is in love with Danny Betros-Betros Ghali, snuggled up alongside his mate Nikki, and her infamous anonymous mayoral letter writer, Robin Johnston. Of course there was Jesus-like Bryan Law who's gone overboard on the whole Movember thing, and can't keep away from an opportunity where there's a crowd to say words like "Afghanistan" and "Iraq."
Up the back, where he belongs, there was a "cranky" Jason O'Brien, the MP for Cook. Julia Leu, the councillor that serves an area the size of the Sahara, got in the last word. I even chatted with Gary Scofield, a man who's served three Mayors as media man and survived longer than you could say 'cash for comments', and lived to tell the tale with his reputation entirely intact. Truely amazing.
Warren-I'm-not-shaking-hands-with-Sackley-Entsch, was also there, and probed me for the LNP leak. "If only there was just the one," I told him. He even posed for a snap for this Blogger, alongside some reprobates that would turn up for the opening of an envelope. It will save me having to drag out another Brokeback photo.
So, what did the meeting achieve? Well, the jury is out. I'll scribe my thoughts later after I replay my secret tape recorder, like the one Alan used to record Val's speech, to hear those gems. And organiser Danae Jones, scooting around with a microphone looking like she just left a beauty pageant, what more could you ask for. She's certainly in touch, in her business.

51 comments:

Alison Alloway said...

I was able to speak with Peter Doutre who is the Federal Government's Local Employment Co-ordinator, at the Forum as well. Peter spoke about Round 2 of the Jobs Fund which provides grants to labor intensive projects which focus on "green" jobs etc. Closing date for Round 2 is 11/12/2009. Website is www.deewr.gov.au for anyone who is interested.

Glynnis G said...

Ireland was the best of what were a sorry lot. Danny Betros calling the CBD daggy? He represents most of the big landlords, and is one of the biggest offenders! Just another rich business leader looking for a government handout. Jason O'Brien is manuevering to run for Mayor, that's apparent to everyone. He's trying to build a populist base of whingers, and this accounts for his attacks on everyone. Russell Beer is a dreadful bore with little to offer - he should be replaced on the Advance Cairns board. Mackenzie needs a new hairpiece, apparently the reason he was charging Val "cash for comment".

Alison Alloway said...

Mike, I wish Peter Doutre had been one of the main speakers. It was an oversight by the organisers to leave him off the panel. However, all up, I think the evening was a worthwhile event and I would like to see more similar forums or "think tank" forums where new ideas can be discussed and evaluated. I wandered around afterwards, spoke with Russell Beer about our concerns with the US military in Guam; congratulated Charles Woodward on the latest project of COUCH, and even quizzed Warren Entsch on the matter of his Parliamentary Pension. From my point of view, all up, a most productive evening!!!!

Bryan Law said...

Mike’s onto me; I’m a total slut when it comes to a crowded room of people who are at least thinking about the society and world around them. I just can’t help myself. I gots to feed in my perspective.

The audience last night was drawn from a very narrow section of Cairns’ population. White business men and a few white business women. While the boom was on, these folk congratulated themselves for outstanding business acumen, and allowed blowhards like Kevin Byrne to mangle the social cohesion of our town while approving inappropriate developments all over the place.

Now that the GFC has cut them off at the knees, they’re looking for government (at all three levels) to bail them out using taxpayers’ money. But government (particularly the Queensland government) is broken. Not only bankrupt but dysfunctional.

I took the opportunity to remind them that we live in a society, and meaning is given to society by human and family values – not by money alone. Warships and our servicing of the Guam military base are on top for me, and the way we side-step ethical concerns for a bag of money. I could also have gone on about alcohol and car dependency.

I’ve got nothing against business, and like most people I love spending money, but for quality of life those things have to be take place in the context of a healthy environment, and healthy relationships among all the different kinds of people who live here. Our “business leaders” have to pay more attention to those aspects of our town.

I agree with Alison that last night was a valuable networking opportunity. Business is desperate. Politicians are desperate. They appear willing to listen. Maybe even to follow through. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, the people for whom the GFC means nothing at all are the ones camping out, living poor, and catching fish from the inlet to supplement their diets. None of them were going to pay $20 to attend last night’s forum.

Unda said...

Well well well, back a matter of days and what pops up but my favorite topic of tea-time conversation - the walking dead who pretend to run this town. You know who I'm talking about - the Magic Pudding Club members who put on the Night of the Zombies last night.

These ageing no-hopers, their predecessors and their hangers-on are part of the CAUSE of the dire straits we are in. For years they've been in charge of organisations that have sent zillions in public money down the gurgler.

These organisations have achieved nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. They might like to tell the peasantry how much they have spent and Where the money has gone. Especially how much has been frittered away on wages, travel and travel incidentals, entertainment, cars, and other similar unproductive items.

Why do the State Government and the Cairns Regional Council continue to give these organisations one red cent of OUR money. Have they ever done a cost-benefit analysis? Not on your nellie, I bet.

Jason O'Brien, MP, instead of just talking about withholding funds, DO IT. Giving these people money is like flushing it down the dunny.

And speaking of talking - last night's Magic Pudding pig-out for the rich and useless was nothing but a talkfest, as predicted. A chance to pat each other on the back and say well done, have another chardonnay old bean and how's the Porsche!

I heard that whingeing old fart on 4CA this morning blathering on about the dirty, untidy CBD. Instead of these rich welfare bludgers demanding more public funds to fix it up, they could try fixing it up themselves.

Instead of whining for help they could get down on their hands and knees with a bucket and scrubbing brush and tidy up their own front yards. And while they are at it, clean up their own unsightly and tatty buildings as well.

Our industrial suburbs are scenic beauty spots compared to the city centre. Look at Scott Street. Business owners there take pride in their workshops and surrounds. They don't wait for handouts from the council or the state government. They don't wait for the maids and the butlers and the child slaves to work their miracles.

And speaking of rich welfare bludgers, I hope the great unwashed have noted that the Magic Pudding Club's answer to all our ailments is to ask for more public funds? If more hands in the till is all they can offer then god help us all.

Forget any bright new ideas - they were as rare as rocking horse poop last night. Just proposals to keep M'Lord and M'Lady in the manner to which they are accustomed and bugger the rest of us. Just more of the same old same old that got us up Shit Creek in the first place.

The Cairns Forum has nothing to do with helping Cairns. It's got everything to do with the Liberal National Party. The Zomboid speakers and panel members were a who's who of Look No Policies (plus Sell-Out Stu and whatever inanimate object is passing for the Mayor these days).

They chanted the same old Howard-era mantras: Cut worker wages. Hack worker entitlements. Axe workers themselves. (I also heard Sell-Out Stu moaning about unemployment - let me tell you, sweetheart, that you ain't seen nothin' if Look No Policies gets back into power. It'll be Look No Workers before you can say I'm a publicity-Seeking Political Wannabe)

Might this old worker have the effrontery to ask where the $20 a head entry fee went? What worthy cause has benefitted? Was the talkfest a commercial exercise? Was it a political exercise?

Was Night of the Zombies worth an entry fee at all , let alone $20?

hieronymus bosch said...

how long before rate payers are footing the bill for these blathering ditherers as well?

Tony Hillier said...

If we are serious about cleaning up Cairns's "crappy" and "daggy" CBD — and even Blind Freddie can see that it is just that — the first thing that should be addressed is the signage, which has been placed there by the same commercial interests that are seemingly driving the Cairns Forum.

The CBD is blighted with outrageously outsized hoardings. The one on the north-west corner of the Abbott St/Shields St intersection (which can be seen in all its gory glory from the Arts Gallery coffee deck) is a classic case in point, but other examples are abundant. Sheridan St makes Sunset Strip look like Pall Mall; Mulgrave Rd would pass for a scaled-down version of Sydney's Parramatta Rd.

Restrictions could, and should, be imposed by the Council, and signages and hoardings that don't comply should be ordered to be taken down. Come the revolution, brothers!

Wok said...

Interesting to read Unda's comments. Apparantely its all the LNP's fault. How long has the ALP been in power in QLD? And boy things have gone swimmingly since we got the double act of Rudd and Bligh.
The moment someone starts slagging just one side of politics for the challenges we face in my view pretty much eliminate themselves from sensible debate.

Rob Williams said...

10 years ago we had a fairly vibrant city. Johnnos, balconies alive with young people, the Cairns Yacht Club aka Aquatic, the Jazz Club drawing people to the city every week feeding the Casino which was alive and running New Orleans Jazz themes. Then the pollies decided they wanted money. They knew more about entertainment than the musicians. They allowed high rises to be built where there were once people enjoying themselves. They ripped the Heritage of the city apart and carted the Aquatic to the dump. The domino effect took over. 15,000 citizens voiced their disapproval in writing. The people were treated with contempt and ignored. This is how its going to be said Demolition Desley. Seems to me like they had us in there then told us to bugger off, so we did. An ancient saying springs to mind, “You reap what you sow”. I say to Anna, Desley and the rest of them, “Get over it, we had to!”

Sue E said...

According to the Cairns Post, “Glencorp managing director Udo Jattke feared a low housing approval rate in Cairns may result in the city being unliveable for some people.”

This coming from the man who effectively and single handedly devasted a local environment and community with his ill conceived ghetto like developments. If it wasn’t so tragic it would be laughable. Clifton Beach residents and those who will inhabit these developments will be dealing with liveability issues forever.
Mr Jattke and his ilk are part of the problem not the solution.

Noj Nedlaw said...

Interesting comments so far!

Have a look at this video The Good Life


It’s about the grey nomads. Seems the baby boomers are spending their children’s inheritance. And some places are seeking it out. Watch around 08:42 and see the effect that clever marketing can bring.

Free camping spaces = economic and community benefits.

Which leads me to the question of what Cairns can be doing in this regard. Where are the places that welcome the nomads in Cairns? Where are the places that welcome them for the economic benefit they bring to the whole community rather than trying to rip them off for the benefit of one? Pretty hard to find methinks.

Go for a drive on the Tablelands. There you will find our cashed up baby-boomers- driving through Cairns on their way to the Mareeba Rodeo Grounds, or the Rocky Creek War Cemetery or just before the bridge at Mt Molloy. Anywhere but Cairns; spending money before the next leg of their journey. Which is great for these communities but may be not so for Cairns. We need, as a community, to change perceptions in the nomads blogs that Cairns is unfriendly to this group of people.

And pleezze, no sarcastic comments about how supporting grey nomads is certainly not the economic salvation of Cairns. I know that. But it is one small brick in the strategic wall to recovery that the region so sorely needs.

Factman said...

When Queensland Housing Commission take over 75% of the vacant apartments and let them at discounted/subsidised rental prices to our more unfortunate brothers and sisters, then Udo and all you Clifton Beach elite will get a nice warm and fuzzy feeling.
Stop rubbishing the housing providers - bring out the welcome mat for your new neighbours. Have them feel the warmth of Clifton Beach citizenry.

Tony Hillier said...

The time has come, comrades ... the time to turn the tide ... to storm the Bastille. The time to end this terminal twaddle, this woolly thinking, these querulous quangos. The status quo needs to be changed. It is ripe for changing. Concerned citizens of Cairns and environs must get off their haunches, abandon their suburban "castles" and backyard barbies for a few hours and have a real say — in their future. We're preaching to the converted in this forum. Bombard the Compost's
Letters To The Editor' column with your innate intelligence, comrades. Can we bring about change? Yes, we can!

Factman said...

Jon (noj) - yes yes yes and yes.

Cairns tourist strategy.

In the late 80's it was target the high spending Japanese golf playing tourists.
Then in the 90's it was target the backpacker market.
Now the new millennium.
But do we need to make Cairns "Grey Nomad" friendly?
Imagine all these "grumpy old men" in Cairns.
Moan moan and moan again.

Send them all to Clifton beach I say.

They will feel right at home with the local Clifton Beach folks if you ask me ...

Wendy said...

It is of interest that Val had told old mat headed one (John Who) the reason for her early departure. His decision not to share this information with the rest of us, 'nough said.

hieronymus bosch said...

Is this the same Udo who bagged those who voted against slum development at the old drive-in site almost two years ago?

"You're costing us jobs!", he exclaimed.

Yet, not a fucking thing has been done on the site since. I suppose the economic climate is costing him profit?

These hypocrites don't give a shite about jobs. The cowboys will always run this town, I'm moving to Townsville. Yeah, good ridence! Atleast they can stop dengue epidemics and don't piss on about "tourism, jobs" like it's a mantra.

Factman's response is not surprising, he told me once that people want to live in apartments like battery hens. Really? Shares in CEC brother?

KitchenSlut said...

They chanted the same old Howard-era mantras: Cut worker wages. Hack worker entitlements. Axe workers themselves. (I also heard Sell-Out Stu moaning about unemployment - let me tell you, sweetheart, that you ain't seen nothin' if Look No Policies gets back into power. It'll be Look No Workers before you can say I'm a publicity-Seeking Political Wannabe)- Unda

Most of this thread is just extraordiinarily delusional which doesn't really surprise me in many ways! Were you really there and can you give a specific reference dear embittered Unda? Who said what you have claimed and in what context? You are criticizing Traill for an expressed concern on unemployment? What? So you dont give a shit?

You want more unemployment as long as it proves your point, destroys enemies, and stuff the cost? What a fucked human you are! You're not related to Mao are you? bring on the cultural reolution!

Alison Alloway said...

Unemployment is the highest it has been in this city since the Great Depression. Most people understand that the "official" statistics do not accurately reflect the true number of people unemployed or under-employed. High and sustained levels of unemployment result in a "domino" effect on the local economy. Unemployment is soul destroying. It is a basic human need to feel valued and useful. During the years I worked for Centrelink, I saw first hand what unemployment did to people. I saw them go through the stages of optimism, hope, anxiety, panic, anger, rage, cynicism, gloom, and finally apathy and withdrawal.
For these reasons, I support any efforts to try and get people back into jobs and working again.

Jude Johnston said...

The Grey Nomads used to come to Clifton Beach, Factman, and they were welcome. They used to come North for the winter and they stayed in two caravan parks, you know the two places where both Hedley and Jattke built their ugliness, and down the beach where Argentea were allowed to pull up the road for their "beach front" exclusive use blocks of land.
Speaking of Argentea beach front, Councillor Bonneau and his ilk promised a wonderful area the whole family could enjoy, and lush plantings of trees and plants, to replace the road that many people used to drive down and picnic at the quiet end of Clifton Beach.
Yeah right. The irrigation has all been pulled up and what few measly plants there have all died off. The place is a mess and as for those "private" walkways, well they are a danger now, with the warping of the boards and the chains waiting to trip the unwary. Of course this is all on council land so council's problem now. Ooops, got off topic, but as Sue E says, Jattke and his Developer mates are responsible for part of the problem.

NQ Lager lover said...

Just a thought as I sit and sip on a brew, wishing it was a Cairns Draught. Now, I'm no expert, but am merely asking a question. Could the high unemploynet rate and economic gloom currently in Cairns be due to years of greed and 'unsustainable development' that was so welcomed over the Byrne years? (emphasis on 'unsustainable')

Alison Alloway said...

You're right there Jude about the grey nomads. As well, once upon a time Cairns had a thriving market providing cheap People's Palace type accommodation for older people to enjoy the winter sun.

Northern Beaches Warrior said...

Jude, One place the grey nomads won't be going is the Northern Beaches of Cairns. NB has lost 4 caravan parks in 4 years (thanks to KB), then our current Council in their wisdom, want to take out mature trees on the beach front at Palm Cove caravan park and put in about 25-30 cabins, swimming pool, shops, high rise apartments, but wait, there is more..........children's playground, somewhere for the poor back packers to stay, so that they can have a lovely working holiday and stay in comfort. These same backpackers will be partying all night at the establishments along the Esplanade, who one by one, are requesting extension of trading hours to the wee hours, and before you know it, Palm Cove will soon have backpackers defecating on shop fronts just like in the CBD!!

It is proposed that the park is to be run by a private company so that, this once public caravan park will be privately operated with increasing fees, to the complete detriment of campers and caravaners who will one day have a NOT WELCOME sign out the front to greet them. This is exactly what is happening down south.

Its all about greed and money.!!!

Unda said...

kitchenslut has spent countless words on this blog blaming his own financial incompetence (the yungaburra hotel), on everyone else but the guilty party, explaining that it was not his fault, it was the phase of the moon, the dog ate his homework, the international socialist-zionist conspiracy has it in for me etc etc etc.

He has also spent countless words exposing the balance sheet hi-jinks of the real estate speculators and financial spivs in this town.

It's a case of the pot calling the kettle black methinks.

stinhambo said...

I'd suggest lobbying Government to get the National Broadband Network up here with a view to promoting Cairns as a technology area.

We are closer to Asia, we have a great climate and we can use the money and prestige to build up other infrastructure such as transport, hospitals and schools, all of which will need to be upgraded.

Also our narrow minded view of driving to the city is very last century. We should be looking to transport people, not cars.

Trains, buses and cycle paths should be the mainstay of the city with roads being used by those that really need them, for example getting to hospital, north/south driving etc.

Also we need an infrastructure policy that ALL ghetto builders should adhere to whereby cycle networks and roads interconnect with other suburbs. At the moment we are stuck walking round the sand fly ridden and deathly dull The Avenue estate.

Clifton Ghost said...

So Factman, you think the Glencop "exclusive resort-style" apartments are so wonderful and all your new friends are rushing to get in, may I suggest you do the same before you miss out on this wonderful opportunity of being able to call yourself a "Clifton Beach Resident."

Here are a few tips that may come in handy......

First of all, downsize all your furniture to suit a midgit because, you will not be able to get your furniture up the stairs otherwise because of the narrow staircases. I see some residents resort to cranes, so there is another handy tip for you!!

Secondly, you will need to buy a good set of ear muffs because you will soon NOT be enjoying your the activities of your closest and dearest neighbours (this high-density configuration of people living on top of people (all 246 units which may equate to 500 persons), paper thin walls and poor accoustics - you will be able to hear your neigbours farting, their music and TVs, and even their domestic violence events etc. Sounds like fun already......

Thirdly, downsize your car to a smart car or match box car as the garages are so small that if you can get your car in, then there is no room for anything else including your expensive fishing rods and golf gear. You will also have to ditch your wife's car, as each unit only has one garage and there is no other parking available.

Fourthly, take out comprehensive flood insurance as for the last two consecutive years, the ground floor units at Clifton Views have had over 1m of water through them. Last year, other residents had flood inundation to cars parked in the street, so you have better ramp up your car insurance just to be on the safe side.

Fifthly, you will probably have to install crim proof doors and windows, have the Smithfield Police number preset into your mobile phone so that when there are all-night parties, and gangs of youths breaking and entering your property, or better still giving you a mouth full everytime you step outside your door, you will be able to call for help immediately, but remember Smithfield cop shop closes at 4pm so you will have to wait for a car from town which can take any amount of time.

Sixth point - you will need to get a second job to pay high energy comsumption (electricity) for dryers, A/C and general lighting. These apartments are small and dark, with small balconies looking into your neighbours loungerooms, small windows and with no external clothes lines. must.

Follow these few simple tips, and I am sure, you too, will enjoy the Glencorp experience!!

Clifton Ratbag said...

For those who have familiarised themselves with the financial situation facing Udo Jattke and Glencorp, it's unlikely that Glencorp will survive the completion of the Clifton Beach apartments.

Here's why:

The first tranche of finished apartments, all said to be "presold", had almost 30% of the contracts fall over. This required Jattke to dance and spin, getting some who purchased in the second tranche to change units and with the balance, he had a "fire sale" where they went for $50k less than the other purchasers. Thereby ensuring that the buyers in tranche 1 will see capital gains in about the year 2050.

He slowed to a crawl the completion of the last section, knowing that when completed the bank will expect the units to be sold to the "off the plan" purchasers. Do all these purchasers really exist? Given how Udo screwed the first group of investors, will 50% or more of the second group default on their contracts?

This is why the construction slowed to a crawl. Udo thinks that with enough time, he can song-and-dance the bank long enough to get all the suckers lined up.

It ain't gonna happen. Last week's downpour filled the creek right up to the top. When the real rains come, and flood all the ground floor units, he'll be toast.

Udo is the poster boy for the abusive, ignorant and greedy developer. He was promoted after his mentor, Tom Hedley, bit the dust.

The Grateful Mac said...

Ratbag,

You are misinformed. Udo was a developer long before Hedley got into the game. Udo was building houses 20 years ago when Hedley was still a plumber.

I agree that these developments are hideous, but why did the Council and the State government allow it ?

Why can't they force builders to abide by some sort of standard and why were people like yourself not jumping up and down at the time to stop this sort of development ?

People in Cairns will never get of their arses and fight for what they believe in. It's all talk and no action.

You might think it is great if Glencorp goes down the drain. Who do you think it is going to hurt most ? Udo Jattke or the small investors, unit owners, tradies and local businesses ?

And no, I don't work for Glencorp.

Clifton Ratbags Rule said...

Mr. Grateful:

You show your ignorance by saying "why were people like yourself not jumping up and down at the time to stop this sort of development" (Clifton Beach Ghettos).

The residents of Clifton Beach, including myself, did everything possible short of assassination to stop this travesty being built. It was jammed down the community's throat by Kevin Byrne and his community-wrecker in chief, Peter Tabulo.

It was the promise of a better system that gave Val Schier the margin to win her election as mayor.

She's now proven to have no backbone and continues to allow Peter Tabulo free reign to rape the community with bad projects.

Get your facts straight, Mr. Grateful.

The Grateful Mac said...

OK, Mr. Ratbag, settle down. I stand corrected and take your word for it that everything possible was done. It didn't get much publicity though and hardly caused a ripple in the wider community.

And will Glencorp going broke make things better?

No, because as long as council allows this sort of development , someone else will do the same thing somewhere else.

The issue is not with the builders and developers,the issue is with the lack of sensible legislation and the fact that the existing legislation is not being enforced.

nocturnal congress said...

Geez, Clifton Ghost, those "exclusive, resort-style apartments" sound like shit-holes.
I wonder what the profit margin is on them?

Factman said...

You know ... if these wonderful Glencorp units, maybe soon to become subsidised rented Housing Commission units were to be built in White Rock, or Manunda, or Manoora, or Woree, or Machans, or Mooroobool, Edmonton, Gordonvale, or Mt Sheridan, then they would be welcomed by those communities as needed additions to the housing shortage that existed 2 years ago.

But no, they were built in Clifton Beach.

That sandfly infested area between the hills and the coast where besser block beach shacks were built in the 70's.

Where nature has not had time to form efficient drainage channels between those hills and the coast.

And what a commotion - all those "special" people that think Clifton Beach should be a "special" part of Cairns.

Well, it's not.

It's just another suburb.

Stating the obvious? said...

I continue to be (naively) surprised that every single idea I have heard in the media related to the “how do we fix Cairns’ economy” question, is all about giving freebies to existing businesses. I am (naively) flabbergasted that all I hear is all the ways that these business owners, that have lined their personal pockets thickly in the good times, should be getting public money. It shows just how blinkered our “leaders” are by their big business mates. If the council was fair dinkum about “saving” Cairns, their single focus would be on attracting new businesses to Cairns (oh no! Competition for the dinosaurs!) How about developing the infrastructure for new areas of industrial zoned land, free rates for new businesses, cutting DA fees? How about council developing any land it owns that is industrial zoned and selling it cheap, with a covenant requiring that a new business be operating within 12 months, and the land can’t be resold for five or ten years?

The idea of spending money “prettying up” the CBD astounds me. I was one of those young people ten years ago that frequented the CBD. There were many small restaurants and pokey bars. They don’t exist anymore. And we have all heard about it time and time again, restaurants and bars shut because the rents are too high. The only way to make a profit in hospitality in the CBD is with a bulk drinking facility. These big places attract the sort of people that enjoy being anonymous in a big crowd, so they can do what they want, which they do. They are also the sort of people that the rest of us would prefer to avoid, so we no longer go to the CBD, so any remaining smaller venues lose their customers and shut too. (And they are also the sort of people who get drunk and speed home to their suburbs, which answers another question being asked recently.)

And we all know the answer to “who jacked up the rent?”.

Clifton Ghost said...

To the Grateful Mac and other readers,
Clifton Ratbags Rule is correct, when he says everything that could have been done was done by residents!!

Unfortunately we were stymied by a number of factors.

1. the land was zoned Residential 3 (high rise units)

2. This zoning has a Code Assessable tag which means that there is no public disclosure before it is approved at Council. In the good old days of the Byrne era, these type of DAs were available on the web on Monday, and the council meetings were on Thursday which left very little time to organise anything.

3. The State Govt, were already primed and ready by Council and the previous developer, by de-classifying the Category 3 natural creek system to a "drainage easement" thus belittling its importance as a flood plain, wildlife corridor and seasonal creek that sometimes floods.

4. Sno Bloody Bonneau lied to many residents by telling them that the units would have little or no impact on them, and that he would do everything in his power to achieve that. Well, he did everything in his power, to approve the DA and he treated our community and residents with about as much contempt as humanly possible.

5. The CRC and Sno Bloody Bonneau gave the develper concession after concession. Concessions on how far he could build from the creek (only 5m), concessions in height (Clifton Waters and Seashells are 5 storeys including the car park and then he added a high roof structure as the last straw), dispensations on setbacks, and carparking and the peace de resistance was when Udo built one of the units over a sewer line, and over the approved Bocci court, and the setback from someone's property was less than the stated condtion of 3m. Council hastily changed the meeting to Port Douglas, and approved, a change of condtions to allow these breaches to be legal.

I am sure that there are many more important reasons why this developer was allowed to do what he did, but basically, our community has been totally screwed by Byrne, Bonneau, Blake and all the other Councillors who aproved these monstrosities.

Clifton Ghost said...

Factman,

I have have done a deal with Udo for one of those ground floor units at Clifton Views, which back onto the highway and put it in your name!! I got if at a fire sale price, even though I am told they are all sold!!!

I would really like for you to experience first hand the flood inundation from the so-called drainage easment and for you to really know what it is like to wake in the middle of the night with flood water invading your home, damaging all your furniture and possessions, then having to clean up the mess for days on end and then find out, that you are under insured after all.

And you are right, Clifton is just a suburb, like any other suburb in Cairns!!

Enjoy!!

Noj Nedlaw said...

Kudo's to "Stating the obvious?"

I totally agree with your comments. There seem to be a few people/organisations that seem to assume that what is good for them is good for Cairns. Small business is the single biggest sector employer in Australia and this is the sector that needs to be encouraged. The concept of discounted or no rates for new businesses is great! What do you thing councillors? Perhaps a sliding scale - commit to additional staff and get a smaller discount. It could be the tipping scale when Joe Business considers creating a new position.

Given that the unemployment rate is around 13.5% (and I have heard that the male unemploytment rate is higher than this) incentives like this is something that can be done at a local level.

And before apologists scream this will cost, and where will the $$ come from, perhaps a reallocation of priorities should be examined.

As to the rents. Totally agree that there are a goodly number of absentee landlords in cloud cuckoo land who think that they can insist on high rents and that mugs (ie us) will continue to pay this.

Kuranda is also a prime example. Anectdotally I have been told that absentee landlords there are screwing their tennants for high rents on the grounds that tourists will always go to Kuranda. So in effect the Cairns region is expected to provide an income to cover dodgy deals and losses elsewhere. Because the tourists always come. But not, I suspect at levels to sustainthe absentee landlords for much longer.


The other issue that I will also raise is the perenial whinge about slipping or non-existent customer service standards; especially in the hospitality industry. The smiles, the welcome greeting, the prompt delivery of meals and beverages, the courtesy - you know all the stuff you would expect a tourist destination to be on top of - where is it? Some shining examples - but a hell of a lot of rotten apples in there to.

As a few bloggers have said, we can all do our part, and I really think that no idea, however whacky (even the damned uke festival), should be discarded out of hand.

Small bricks building the wall of recovery.

The Grateful Mac said...

Clifton Ghost said...
To the Grateful Mac and other readers,
Clifton Ratbags Rule is correct, when he says everything that could have been done was done by residents!!

Thanks for the explanation, Ghost and you confirm what i said earlier.

The problem is not with Glencorp or any other developer. They only do what the council lets them get away with.

The problem is with the zoning, the lack of sensible legislation and the fact that the existing legislation is not being enforced.

Factman said...

Ghost ... many thanks for the unit.

I may rent it to ATSIC, too many sandflies for me to live there.

BUT ... I am not worried about insurance.

You see Council's hydraulic experts have done the calculations and concluded that the new improved waterway channel will now discharge a 100 year ARI event.

You see it now has an increased wetted perimeter ensuring a correct hydraulic radius.

This creek/flood plain couldn't/wouldn't discharge sufficiently before because the secondary undergrowth, combined with the local residents using Deadman's Gully Creek as a dumping ground clogged up the system.

But now it's free to run ...

... except that the sand on the beach front has closed off the creek outlet.

This will cause a backwater problem as the water level in the creek rises to overcome the dune height.

But wait ... council engineers to the rescue once again.

A channel will be cut through the sand to let the bracken waters escape.

Thank god for man's intervention.

Nature does need a helping hand sometimes.

Jude Johnston said...

Ghost, you forgot to add that Clifton Views were actually built below the Q100, and another deal was done to have them comply, by digging out the creek, hence lowering the creek bed so the Buildings complied with the DA.
Factman, unfortunately another deal was done over the rock wall at Clifton Beach, to protect the houses built on land that always went under water with the storm surges. The rains that flooded Clifton Views also were prevented from running off into the sea because of this bloody great Sno wall, sorry rock wall, trapped all the water in and flooded these houses as well. Another man made intervention that accelerated beach erosion. Mother Nature will in due course decide that man is nothing but a plaything to be indulged until she gets bored. Sorry you won't be taking up Ghosts generous offer, I was about to contribute by buying you a clothesline to string between your unit and your new neighbour's unit.

KitchenSlut said...

"kitchenslut has spent countless words on this blog blaming his own financial incompetence (the yungaburra hotel), on everyone else but the guilty party, explaining that it was not his fault, it was the phase of the moon, the dog ate his homework, the international socialist-zionist conspiracy has it in for me etc etc etc.

He has also spent countless words exposing the balance sheet hi-jinks of the real estate speculators and financial spivs in this town.

It's a case of the pot calling the kettle black methinks."


This is a person displaying psychotic tendencies. I thought I had properly explained my Yungaburra Pub position where I have never had anything with its finances despite Unda's obsession to construct fiction from threads.

Seriously! If anybody knows this person could they please ensure they get appropriate psychological help!?

Mick Mighell said...

You told us on this blog, Kitchenslut, that you did put in a bid for the Yungaburra pub. You whinged and moaned about not getting there, and concocted a conspiracy - including the unions for goodness sake - to explain your failure. You spelled out for us that your disclosure represented a breach of the confidentiality provisions of your tender. You raged, and ranted - but perhaps you recanted? Like your recent retraction of your late-night, defamatory post reflecting insider-knowledge on Richie Ahmat and Cape York slush funds - perhaps you just thought the better of it in the cold light of day? Don't worry, kitsch, load yourself up again this Friday night and post something else you'll regret later.

Sue E said...

Mention Clifton Beach and Factman froths at the mouth and charges in like a bull to a red flag. You could say like a mother defending her brood – council brood that is. A channel has been cut at the mouth of Deadmans on numerous occasions to allow water to escape, but it didn’t solve the problem even in moderate rainfall. Why? Because twenty-five bloody great concrete monoliths now sit where once a melaleuca forest did what nature intended it to do on a coastal flood plain – absorb, filter and retain water and run off and provide a protective buffer against erosion. Sound familiar.

Council have required a $300 000 bond to guarantee that creek works are completed and function as intended and withstand two average wet seasons. An additional requirement is the notation on future rates record that the site is subject to flooding and the body corporate is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the creek – it appears that no easement or reserve in relation to the creek was transferred to council which is a departure from the norm.

Council it seems are not so sure that flooding won’t occur again.

Tree Hugger said...

Factman,

It seems to me that Council are a wee bit confused as the to correct status of Deadmans' Creek!!!!!

For 5 years now, Council have been ramming it down our throats that Deadman's Creek is a "drainage easment" after Council and the previous developer's intervention to get the category 3 waterway changed.

Last week, I had one of the staff at Council, telling me and other residents of Clifton, that mature trees should be removed from Deadmans as they are classified as "exotic pests" and that Deadman's is in fact an "Environmental reserve"?

Which is it? As I pointed out in an email to which the Council officer is yet to respond, it cannot be a drainage easement for developer purposes and an Enviromental reserve for Council's tree culling policy when it suits them!!!

It also makes a great mockery of their Shame signs that they are now canvassing.

Council seems to give developers 100% carte blanche to remove every tree on their site (which sadly is the precedent now in Clifton Beach), and at the same time, they are going to persecute people who poison trees on public land.

I agree with Shame signs in general, however, the hypocriscy that this council exhibits when it comes to the value of trees, is truely pathetic and a great weakness in this administration.

Perhaps this is just more interfernce on the behalf of Council to clear out Deadman's to protect the mistakes previously made by Council and Glencorp in their wholesale destruction of this once beautiful waterway and wildlife corridor!!

You know the song, 'Pave paradise and put up a parking lot"

Factman said...

1. Jude ... the rock wall was built to ensure the 30 resident ratepayers, that were being salt water flooded every year, would still have access and utility service to their properties.
After many attempts at dune nourishment and sand bag solutions were tried, the wall was chosen to end the matter. And it has.
I would have preferred that sand retention devices (groynes) were used but ... EPA said NO!

2. Sue ... You are misrepresenting the facts. Deadman's Creek exits between Upolu Esp and the shore in the vicinity of Endeavour Rd intersection.
This area is protected from development.
And none has occurred. Unfortunately, the sand shifting processors of nature don't acknowledge this, hence the blockage.

3. Tree hugger ... as long as any development does not add to the catchment, thereby increasing the flow of runoff into the conveyance system, there is no problem.
Sometimes the development results in a more impervious catchment, but that's OK. As long as the development's hydraulics take this into account it will be approved. As for easements - they are only created where Council wish to use private property for a purpose, or to take control over the use of this Land. The easement gives Council some control over that purpose. Say, filling in a natural drainage path - the resulting flow ending in your neighbours pool.
A tricky minefield.
Ciao bela bela bela.

Unda said...

Baldrick of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce was in the Compost again the other day, telling everyone the good news that Papua New Guinea might be a great place to do business right now. He’s suddenly discovered the place is booming.

Wowee! What a valuable piece of observation and deduction! Baldrick, the place has been booming for at least two years. Even Tom Hedley, plumber extraordinaire, was able to work that one out.

The only problem for Baldrick and his Look No Policies mates might be that PNG stopped dealing with Cairns aeons ago because its businesses charged like wounded bulls for lazy and incompetent take-it-or-leave-it service, and displayed a total lack of comprehension that they might be required to be competitive.

Baldrick is about as with it as his mate Bomba the Jungle Boy. What Bomba and all our other corporate welfare bludgers forget is that there is a world out there that doesn’t necessarily revolve around handouts from the Government, real estate rip-offs and financial chicanery.

Sometimes you actually have to be able to think to make a quid. Sometimes you actually have to do some work.

If by some remote chance these parasites want to make a contribution to Cairns, rather than their own pockets (I know! I know!) the first activity that springs to mind is thinking.

Thinking usually involves some sort of process and good old Management 101 is as good a place as any to start.

Frist off, it might be advisable to do a Cairns SWOT analysis (that’s working out your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, not going down to the pub and swilling a few lagers with Baldrick, Bozo the Clown from TTNQ and Dopey from Advance Cairns).

Then, you might like to look at your target market. There’s some pretty attractive options out there. Lots of under-developed nations, for example.

What might they need? A couple of things might spring readily to mind Bomba - assuming you can locate yours after all those fascinating years in real estate.

Food? Clean water? Shelter? Health? Education?

Then you might ask yourself whether we have a competitive advantage in any of these areas.

in that regard, I don’t know whether you noticed, but there were women on the panel at Night of the Zombies.

One was representing James Cook University.

You know JCU, Bomba. It’s the big sales opportunity up the highway on the left past Smithfield.

Immaculately presented. Room for expansion into theme park. Hot and cold running serfs. As-new geeks. Ample car parking. Bar. Suit Mindless Cretin.

Tertiary and technical education is one of the big cojones in the service sector these days.

Even though the spivs and carpetbaggers who have made real estate, financial advice and the law such disreputable occupations have invaded the education sector, institutions such as JCU and Far North Queensland TAFE ought to be regarded as among our premier items of economic infrastructure.

Professor Harding made this very point, although in all the Night of the Zombies hubris and the continuing idiocy of the Compost no one would ever have known.

Our strengths and our opportunities, our competitive advantage, lie in our capacity in nursing and dentistry, in tropical health, tropical agriculture and aquaculture. In trades training, maritime and aviation education. In climate change research, adaptation and mitigation. In environmental management.

There are other huge advantages in having tertiary and research institutions in town, above and beyond the economic benefit. They are immeasurably valuable social and cultural catalysts as well.

They allow us to think beyond beer, pies and the neddies, Jungle Boy, and beyond short-term fixes and fast bucks.

They help us to understand that our weaknesses and our threats lie in taking the easy ways out proposed by you and fellow parasites in corporate Cairns: bludging on the public purse and promoting a cargo cult mentality of get-rich-quick real estate schemes and shady financing.

Stating the obvious said...

I see CSC is shopping around for land in the CBD to build a multi-storey car park. Have any of these been built anywhere in Australia since the 70's? We all know what happened to Townsville's, it was converted into apartments over 10 years ago.

My biggest problem with public transport is who I would have to share it with. How about a Gold Class service with an annual fee that gives unlimited travel, say $500 to keep the riff raff and children off them. Luxury coaches with coffee machines, wireless or wired connectivity and elbow room. That would be enough to leave my car at home.

Sue E said...

Factman, the only one misrepresenting the facts is your good self. You can waffle on till the cows come home but it won’t change the simple reality that the flooding that has occurred over the past 2 years is directly linked to the insane and reckless decision to allow a massive high density, wall to wall development on a flood plain. Widespread flooding in moderate rainfall is now occurring because creek overflow is prevented from dispersing into what was once a 4ha flood plain stretching from the Cook highway to Yule Avenue. A greater volume of water is now being forced down the creek with predictable results.

Council made a bad development decision and one it will no doubt come to rue sooner rather than later. If the creek widening coupled with heavy rain results in extensive flooding of downstream properties again, Council may well find itself in a real court unlike the donkey court that masquerades as a robust development approval process in this fair city.

Thaddeus said...

A brilliant post there Unda!

Joe Jackson said...

Clifton Beach has had lots of rain and high tides. Did Clifton Views flood?.... NO.

How about post the photos of the easement working instead of just having the before photos up.

I do believe Glencorp and Udo will survive Clifton Views as there is only 50 units to build out 246 which are 80% have settled. How stupid do you think we are

Clifton Ratbags Rule said...

The rains of the last week or so are hardly a test of the drainage at Clifton Views. These were only moderately heavy rains, compared with much heavier concentrated falls we had last year. Udo's crew is hoping like hell they can get out before a big storm floods all the groundfloor units, as it will in time.

Clifton Ghost said...

Re Joe Jackson's comments

Mother Nature has not had the last word yet - not by a long shot.

Try and be patient Joe, as patience is said to be a virtue, and any assessment of the drainage capability at Deadman's Creek at this stage would certainly be premature to say the least. The first time Clifton Views flooded was in early March 2008, but then you should know that seeing as you are such a Know-it-all Young Turk!

You are sprouting prematurely Joe, I hear alot of young men have that problem and it must be such a disappointment for you not to be able to control yourself???!!!!

Jude Johnston said...

Joe, as others above have said, we didn't get the rain here at Clifton this time. However, I do note that there is quite a bit of non flowing water lying around in the "drainage easement", with nowhere to go. Once upon a time, after the rains, the water that didn't soak into the ground, would've provided the fish with water to swim right up to Captain Cook Highway, the trees would've had tree frogs and birds, the Wallabies would feed around the creek. Now it is nothing more than a drain, and the pools of water will be an excellent source for mosquitos, sandflies and of course a mating ground for toads.