Friday 5 February 2010

'Mann Street drain puts children at serious risk' - Richie Bates

Cairns Cycling Club vice president Richie Bates, who ran for Division 5 in the 2008 council elections, has criticised a Cairns Regional councillor for his inaction on a dangerous open drain.

The drain fronts the Mann Street entrance to the Cairns District Junior Rugby League grounds at Jones Park.

Bates has been campaigning for the dangerous drain to be protected for the last six years.

"The partially blocked and exposed watercourse is in front of the busy entrance to the Mann Street fields, where hundreds of children will walk past every weekend during the upcoming football season," Richie Bates says.

"This is an appalling situation where the health and safety of children are continually put at risk for no apparent reason," he said today.

Cairns District Junior Rugby League have made numerous pleas to Cairns Regional Council to deal with the problem.

"They have not had the courtesy of a meaningful reply," Richie Bates says.

Former League manager Dave Maiden was frustrated by Council's neglect, and has taken the initiative to clear the drain himself on numerous occasions. However, Bates says that only fencing off or covering the area will render it completely safe.

"If Council can enforce pool fencing laws for home owners, why can't they comply with these rules for their own infrastructure?" Mr Maiden said.

Businessman and Division 5 councillor for the area Alan Blake has denied that the drain is an issue saying that the hazard is "not a priority."

On ABC Far North with Fiona Sewell, Richie Bates went head to head with the CBD Councillor about the issue.

"What could be greater priority than the safety of our children?" Bates told the ABC. "This is not just a drain, it's a very large drain, right in front of an area where there is a high number of children walking, hundreds every weekend. This is a special case."

However Councillor Blake said that they just can't just fence every drain in town. "That's just not pratical. We've got these programmes where we go into schools and tell the children not to play in drains."

Richie Bates reiterated his concerns and said Council has failed in their duty of care, considering the recent toughening of pool fencing laws.

"Infrastructure, such as this is essential," he says. "You wouldn't leave a pool unfenced, it's pretty simple. There are a few solutions, like some barricades or fencing around the area," Bates says. "You could even split the costs with the League. If he was a proactive Councillor, he would have done a better job."

2,200 people compete in junior, senior, touch and women's football codes every week of the football season at the League's Mann Street park.

As soon as the on-air ABC interview concluded, Bates received a telephone call from Councillor Blake, in what he described as bullying and harassing.

"You need to get your facts right," Alan Blake said with little introduction. "You've got it all wrong, this is not how it is."

"Alan, this has been like this for years, whilst you've been a city councillor, under your watch." Bates retorted. "Those kids have been waiting years for this. It hasn't happened. What do you mean about the facts?"

"Look Richie, you could have sent me an email and we could have sat down and had a coffee and talked this over," Blake said.

"This has been going on un-attended for years," Bates told Councillor Blake. "These sporting folk have been asking for this to be dealt with for years. Are you telling me now, if we sat down and had a coffee, it would get resolved?" Bates asked. "You're kidding me."

Alan Blake eventually abruptly hung up the telephone on Bates. Maybe he had to dash off to a coffee somewhere.


Canadian CBD Resident said...

I read this story this morning and laughed. What's wrong with you people? I never saw such a big collection of whingers anywhere. Poor little kiddies, let's put fences up so they don't do anything stupid, fences, cones, barricades, signs. . .are your children really this stupid? And potential future leaders like Richie Bates lead the charge to get a financially-strapped council to increase this nonsense.

There are so many REAL issues to tackle, and some in this community keep wasting time on nonsense.

Richie, grow up!

Factman said...

Hello ...

More publicity seeking from Masterbates.
And not an election in sight.

Mann Street drain is one of hundreds of open channels in public domains. It's been as it is for 40 years.
The Esplanade boardwalk is another.
What about the jetties and pontoons in our rivers?

What is Council to do ? ... fence of every creek/channel/jetty/wharf area between Mirriwini and Mossman ?

Factman does appreciate making this world a safer place for our children but some situations are just not feasible or untenable.

This subject sounds like just another go at Cr Alan Blake to me, this time using children's safety as the subject.

Big bad Alan.

How pathetic ...

Oh well, at least Bryne, Freebody, Cochrane, Bonneau and Gregory were given a break and not blamed as well.

Council Watcher said...

Yes, Richie, it's high time council stepped up to the mark in this area.Not so long ago they did repair the footbridge and bikeway that had become dangerous for the kids. 'Cairns One' finished their building job very neatly and council needs to fix up their bit of road and get rid of the potholes.As for the waterway, well do we fence off the Esplanade and encircle Centenary Lakes with glass panels? As you say, not practical.
There are kilometers of unfenced rivers and drains in residential areas and beyond and kids will be attracted to them. Maybe some barracades along side the driveway into the club grounds or the drain could be patrolled during matches. This could be paid for by on the spot fines for the littering that is alway shocking after a big match!
The drain itself must be protected and kept clear of rubbish and blockages as it attracts many wading birds.

the factiod said...

Eeeer, what's that smell? Oh, the do-nothing mental minnow Blake is in the shit again. Relax Richie, this clown will die of caffeine overdose or RSI from Blackberrying before he does a thing to earn his keep. And he knows so much about sewers!
He did nothing for us in Div 9 and he's true to form in 5

Richie said...

You are right about one thing Factman - There is not an election in sight.
That should give the anonymous Canadian plenty of time to become a citizen and register to vote.

dutchie said...

Not a priority. And yet the open hole in front of Blake's apartment at 2 Lake Street is fully fenced and has traffic control people in attendance. Can't have him falling down a deep hole can we. Can't be that lucky
Yep, it's about 'priorities' all right

Bryan Outlaw said...

Factman is normally not my cup of tea. But he and the Canadian are absolutely right in this case. No one in their right mind believes that this, or any area, needs to be "fenced off" for the safety of anyone. What the hell is wrong with you, Bates? Can't you find something constructive to do?

Government isn't our mum. Survival of the fittest.

hieronymus bosch said...

The CDRL have been asking Cr Blake to do something about this drain for a long time. He believes they don't support him so he does nothing, so then they don't support him, blah blah.

The opportunity to get this drain sorted was there back when the Cairns One development was approved. The developers should have been 'conditioned' to put back into the local community instead of the rate payer footing the bill to get this drain covered or fenced.

It seems somebody has to die to get council to ever do anything.

On another note does anybody know when the footbridge in Dillon St Westcourt will ever be repaired? It's been closed since last June!! The council spent more time fencing it off than it would have taken to fix the square foot of broken concrete.

oldgreg said...

In response to hieronymus bosch, I have heard that the bridge actually has serious structural damage, its more than just a bit of broken concrete. I also know that Blake doesn't want another bridge built as the nearby residents are saying its only use is as a crime hot spot.

Never mind about the dozens and dozens of kids who use it as a way to walk or ride safely to school, as well as cyclists using it as a back route in order to stay off the main roads.

hieronymus bosch said...

Cheers oldgreg,

A crime hotspot? Perhaps the real reason is that the locals like their 'moat', as the only alternative route is very far from their homes.

I was told in July that council engineers were 'watching' it for a month to determine it's structural integrity. Watching it from where I don't know.

Then in August I was phoned by a council representative who told me it WAS structurally sound and was up for repair. He also said it was seen by council as an integral part of the bikeway/pedestrian strategy and would be fixed.

Yet, instead of repairing the bridge council saw fit to erect a second set of immpassable gates and fences to stop the few that had continued to use the bridge (despite it being structurally sound).

Northern Beaches Warrior said...


You know your ego really is as big as the moon.

Add your own name to the list of "usual suspects" to lay blame against.

'Bryne, Freebody, Cochrane, Bonneau and Gregory and Factman'

Now thats better! Now the list is complete!

earlville earl said...

spot on, oldgreg. I used it, every day as did all the local school children, mums with prams, etc etc. no-one in their right mind would use the highway while that route was available. i've never seen Blake round these here parts: presumably he's one of those councillors on $90,000 a year holding down another job and is too busy looking after his own interests to do his duty to his division.

Al said...

Could Richie Bates please explain why "a very large drain, right in front of an area where there is a high number of children walking, hundreds every weekend" is any more dangerous than say, a very large road?
Never thought I'd say this, but I'm with Blake on this one.

Richie said...

Thanks Al,

I hear your point, but if that is your arguement, why do we bother to fence swimming pools?
The nature of the risk is very different between a roadway (some do have protective barriers at crossings) and an open drain. CDJRL are not asking to fence every drain in front of playing grounds. However, they consider Mann St. to be a far greater risk than most and I am one who agrees with that.

p.s. - so glad to hear you are with Blakey

brad m said...

If its such a serious concern, has CDRL considered putting their money up to pay for the drain?

Bryan Outlaw said...

Richie, you're hopefully just pretending to be stupid, aren't you? The difference between a drainage ditch and a home swimming pool? Pre-school age children aren't just supposed to be roaming around our streets, but since they are at home we take special protections from the giant bathtubs in our gardens. Capice?

And if it's a "far greater risk" on Mann Street, perhaps because your kids are exceptionally stupid, why not have a bake sale and pay for the fence yourselves? Government isn't your mum.

Richie said...

Bryan, that is a reasonable arguement from the "Survival of the fittest perspective" but as I don't prescribe to this as an ideology, I guess we are not ever going to agree.
For the record, pre school kids do roam that area (no doubt you'd be happy to see the kids drown and blame the parents) and CDJRL probably would contribute to improvements to the "Council's" drain. They already clean it thelmselves.
Trouble is, I get the feeling that if CDJRL fixed the problem thelmselves, do-gooders like you would be condemning it as an illegal structure.

My kids exceptionally stupid? - You're slipping! Go talk to your "mate" Seaman Stains for some tips