Monday 10 May 2010

Edmonton's Sugarworld repair bill up to $4.1 million

A engineering report commissioned by Cairns Regional Council says that between $2.2m to $4.1 million will be needed to upgrade and repair Sugarworld waterslides at Edmonton.

The report to be tabled at this Wednesday's meeting, reveals recommending spending only $700,000 to repair two of the slides [Banana Bender and Flying Fox], extending the life of the facility for another 5 to 10 years.

In a letter to council, PRD Engineers say that another inspection should be undertaken prior to any work being done.

"It would be prudent for Council to seek an inspection and comment on the feasibility of fibreglass refurbishment from an expert in fibre glasser experienced in the area of water slide manufacture," Peter De Roma says.

The Council report says the current assessment indicates the ‘Cyclone’ and ‘Sugar Glider’ slides are not capable of being fixed andd asks for an "urgent report back to Council on proposed actions in relation to these two slides."

Two other options will be presented to Councillors this Wednesday. That they undertake full replacement of the waterslide tubes, costing up to $4.1 million.

The final option is to decommission the waterslides altogether. "[Council should] rehabilitate the site to provide some levels of service to the community leveraging the remaining aquatic leisure aspects of the facility," the report says.

"Council must take a balanced view in making a decision concerning the renewal of the waterslide infrastructure with particular consideration to its long term economic and social sustainability," Ian Lowth, general manager Community Sport and Cultural Services says.

"Council should consider how the facility will be positioned in what is expected to be a strong and competitive future leisure market. More specifically, strong consideration should be given to how the Sugarworld Waterpark will compete for public participation as the commercial and private leisure sector catches up," Ian Lowth says. "There have been many proposals before the Council that if implemented would ultimately compete for community participation Sugarworld."

Recently Darwin Council has installed a wave pool, for people to swim and surf.

The repair Options Report has deliberately highlighted and included details and artist's illustrations of Paul Freebody's waterpark proposal, planned for construction in the known flood delta of the Barron River near Smithfield. It's very provocative for a council report to include such irrelevant information.

"In this respect, the possible reality should not be discounted that Sugarworld, in its existing format, may be a very small player in the region’s leisure market in 5-10 years time," Ian Lowth says.

The state of the slides, that were originally constructed in 1975, before being relocated in 1989 to the current Edmonton site, was first bought to Council's attention in a 2006 report. However no repair was carried out as a result, even though significant works were recommended. This was under the Byrne-led Council, when then councillor now turned waterpark developer, Paul Freebody served on Cairns City Council. $60,000 was finally allocated in the current 2009/2010 budget, with an extra $75,000 from the Federal Government.

In the new April 2010 report, Cairns Regional Council has added an extra $110,000 to the cost of repairing just one of the waterslides. The costs are over and above the estimated $248,000 to repair just one of the waterslide tubes.

A "contingency" of $37,200; an extra 10% for "external consultant services" $24,800; and another 20% for "Council process/diligence, governance, public consultation, internal service providers" totalling $49,600.

The Sugarworld Options Report has clearly been designed to frighten most Councillors, and some may not support spending such amounts of the facility, in light of the proposed multi-million theme park planned for the southern Mt Peter area, along with Freebody's proposed Adventure waterpark on the northern side of Cairns.

“The report is fine, but I do hope the first word in recommendation will be changed from 'considers' to 'approves' on the floor of council,” Councillor Rob Pyne said. “Make no mistake, public pressure and the Save Sugarworld Slides have been a big factor in this debate.”

“There is no reason this needs to stop with the repair of the slides, I would like to see the people who joined Save Sugarworld Slides continue to lobby for Sugarworld, and perhaps even consider lobbying for better services for Edmonton generally”, Rob Pyne says.

"It is believed representatives from Save Sugarworld will be attending the Council meeting on Wednesday, just to keep the bastards honest," he says.

Councillor Nansky Lanskey has said that it was 2006 since the last inspection of the property.

"Where is the regular inspection process that every private business has to comply with," Edmonton resident Colin Riddell asks. "This council should be sacked for incompetence. Any publicly-used service should have regular safety inspections, not one every four years. Is this hillbilly heaven?"

Prominent local businessman, Lou Piccone of Piccone's IGA, is also behind the campaign to reopen the waterslides. "I'm very passionate that Sugarworld be saved. It would be sacrilegious on council not to do so."

Raj Patel, who set up a Facebook campaign that has garnered over 11,000 supporters, is suspicious of the local divisional councillor, and he delay in supporting the waterslides.

"I must point out one fact. Councillor Nancy Lansky was with [Deputy Mayor] Margaret Cochrane when Sugarworld was closed with no reason given. I find it unfortunate she did not say anything about reopening until 5,000 people joined [the campaign]."

Meanwhile former Cairns Councillor and Smithfield waterpark proponent Paul Freebody, has distanced himself from suggestions he had anything to do with Sugarworld's sudden closure.

"People believe that I had something to do with this issue," Paul Freebody said. "I make [sic] it clear; I had no knowledge of the closure and was as surprised and disappointed as everyone else."
Freebody says he's been vocal in his dismay at the sudden announcement.

"I would have thought that some schedule could have been put in place to ensure repairs were carried out over a period of time and still allowing the lessee to trade, whilst of course still looking after the public safety," Paul Freebody says. "How it becomes so dangerous overnight is a mystery to me, the only thing I would think could be the problem is an insurance coverage one?"

Local residents have asked why safety inspection weren't carried out over recent years.

"Would I be right to assume that you [Paul Freebody] was on council for a number of years. Were you aware of the structural issues whilst you were in Council?" Craig Bate asks Paul Freebody.

"My heart goes out to Phipps as I am sure they must be feeling stressed and I hope Council find the money to get it up and running again ASAP. Sugarworld is an icon and should be treated with the respect it deserves, not as another yacht club," Paul Freebody says.

1 comment:

crispy creme fat arse said...

C'mon guys the answer is simple!Scrap sugerworld and turn it into a car wash cafe with high rise parking. And then build the new waterpark at Smithfield. How did I goe with the speling?