Sunday, 31 January 2010

Close encounter of the Freebody kind

Over the weekend I popped into Smithfield Shopping Centre for some groceries.
I actually detest shopping malls. All those people, gathered together in one space, jostling and lining up. It's all a bit claustrophobic for my liking.
However, I bumped into Mark, a Kiwi mate I hadn't seen for ages. We grabbed a drink at Cafe Organics and talked about what we should do for next weekend's Waitangi Day, among other things.
Halfway through my carrot, melon and apple 'battery recharger', who should I spot, none other than waterworld wonder boy, Paul Feeebody. He was ranting on his mobile phone, probably to some lawyer. I think I overheard him say "Lionel Hutz" or similar.
I saw the opportunity to say hello and extend some warm wishes, after all, that morning I'd just finished scribing a few hundred words about Mr Freebody and his wet dream - the wacky Adventure Water Waterworld he's planning to build with his Kato dozer, just South of the Yorkeys roundabout.
However, all hasn't been going well for Paul. On Friday he learnt that the Mulgrave Sugar Mill, one of the objectors to Cairns Regional Council and Freebody's waterpark project, has lodged an appeal against its construction.
"Hi Paul, I hear you've got trouble at mill!" I said.
"No, no, it will all be sorted in a few days. I will be talking to those people this week and it will be all sorted by Tuesday or Wednesday," Paul Freebody defiantly told me.
"By the way, I don't read your Blog, but my kids do, they told me about what you put up today," Paul claimed.
"I wish you would get both sides of the story you know Michael," Paul said in reference to my campaign against the location of the waterpark. "If you want to be taken seriously and have some balance."
I told Paul that I have never objected to the waterpark, merely it's location - planned to be built on a 7ha site, that has tributaries of the Barron River meandering across it. It's a investor's nightmare and the flooding issues that are unavoidable, will be left with subsequent Councils to deal with after Freebody flicks the remnants off to the highest bidder in a few years time.
"We've had Conics out there you know, they've proven that this is the only place for this waterpark. There is no where else you know Michael," Freebody lectured me, who believes the site is higher than elsewhere in the Barron Delta.
"I really don't know what you've got against me or my family. I don't know what the Freebodys have ever done to you. I guess your have had some problems in your personal life that makes you do this to us," Paul said.
Paul started to get a bit upset with me and my writings over his project, so I thought the best thing to do, was to sit down with him, man to... well, man, and hear his story.
"Okay, let's meet soon and talk. What's your mobile Paul?" I asked, and he produced a beautiful glossy laminated business card, complete with sparkling logo. Obviously this guy is loaded, I thought.
The Mulgrave Mill appeal is using Cairns Regional Council's original recommendation to reject the development based on environmental, flooding and planning issues.
“We believe that development would be better off on a different site, especially given that it’s a floodplain,” Peter Flanders told the Cairns Post. “It will set a very bad precedent for the whole Barron Delta area.”
Paul Freebody says he's owned the property for three years and he's never seen a cane train on that section of track, however the cane tracks are used every year, and were in use again just three months ago, following the annual cutting season.
Freebody hopes to open the park in 11 months - which I find amazing. Maybe it's one of those kit set models he ordered on eBay? The wet season still has a few months to go before he could even turn first sod, let alone the appeal, which effectively halts any development whilst it's being dealt with in court. This is a tricky one for Council, after the Development Assessment Manager strongly recommending against the project, then a majority of Councillors voting to support it. The same planning department will have to effectively defend something they don't agree with. I think Council needs to make a decision to not defend the appeal and leave it to the applicant.
I will call Paul this week for that chat in his Trilogy office. I'll keep you posted and let you know if I'll be invited to the grand opening.


Paul Nobody said...

What ever happened to the huge waterpark being proposed out near Edmonton ? Does anybody know if that ever got off the ground ?

Northern Beaches Warrior said...

Ah so his office is in the Trilogy building eh?

That explains why I see him at Barnacle Bills restaurant on the Esplande with "Mrs F" at lunchtimes.

concerned said...

Ha - Lionel Hutz! You are a bit cheeky. Yes, what about the site at Edmonton for a larger (and probably more viable) water/theme park. Is Freebody talking about the only site he could afford - that being cut rate? (Freebody reminds me of a snake oil salesman.)

It will be very interesting to see how this goes in court, after the planning dept. initially rejecting it. How will the council side of the argument be able to be taken seriously?

Thaddeus said...

Freebody's thinking processes never cease to amaze me. The comments on this blog by Mike have opposed the site only, so Freebody sees it as a personal attack on him "and his family". You really wonder about the man's mental state.