Sunday 30 May 2010

Sugarworld waterslides to be totally rebuilt for $4m

Cairns Regional Council will put $4m aside in the 2010/11 budget to rebuild Sugarworld waterslides at Edmonton.

This will be good news for today's rally and community forum at the Sugarworld Gardens.

Following a month of budget planning meetings, CairnsBlog has learn't there is majority support to put the money aside to rebuild the the much-loved 20-year-old community park.

An options report presented earlier this month to Council, put the bill at $4.1M. There were also recommendations to repair and replace just two of the slides for around $700,000, however not sufficient support to keep part of the facility open whilst any repairs were undertaken.

A community campaign to save the popular waterslides, worked hard to show local MPs and councillors, the community's desire to reopen the park as soon as possible. Some were supportive of closing the facility altogether, in light of a planned waterpark near Smithfield by former councillor-turned developer, Paul Freebody.

The park closed suddenly at the end of April, following a damming report citing the dangerous state of the slides and the metal supporting structures. This was not the first time that Council was informed about the poor state of the facility. A 2006 council report highlighted urgent structural repairs, however it was largely ignored. Only minor repairs were commenced last year, under a subsequent council.

The current lessee has said that the 2006 structural report identified problems that needed attention, and nothing was done by Council at the time. The 2010 engineering report highlighted the same problems.

Paul Freebody served on the then Cairns City Council when the 2006 report was tabled.

"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?" Paul Freebody said earlier this month.

The April 2010 inspection, was the first time a critical review had been undertaken since 2006.

It's likely that the reconstruction will take at least 12 months to complete.

This afternoon at 2pm, there will be rally and community forum at the Sugarworld Gardens.

Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt said the turnout at today's community forum was low.

"There was a soccer carnival which would've drawn people away," Curtis Pitt said. "The forum was handled well in a calm and respecful manner. The message was reopen ASAP with community input into plans. I'll be happy as long as the end product continues to be affordable for families."


I-rate payer said...

$4m is a lot of money for rate payers to fork out for something so little used, let's hope the admission charges are sufficient to repay those of us whose rates pay for the work, but who have never, and will never, use the place.

Miss Chief said...

It's all very well to whinge about spending $4M on a water park because YOU in particular don't choose to use it, but is it any different from spending millions on tennis arenas and "cultural" centres? I don't play tennis anymore, but I can see the benefis of having a centre. Kids on the southside need recreational facilities too.
Frankly, the majority of council consider anything south of Forest Gardens to be The Sticks and not really worth the effort of upkeep - it's nice to know that for once, we may actually receive some of our Southern taxpayer rates spent in this area.
Good you think it might mean that Gordonvale is due for a handout too?

Natasha Armstrong said...

Angry at the thousands of people who couldn't get off their computers to come down to forum No Excuses just too lazy most of them

Lee-Anne Robinson said...

would have been nice if a few more people had have showed up but at least some did...

Seatop said...

Following your 'logic' I-rate payer if, as you say (and I'm sure you must have supporting evidence) Sugarworld is so little used, then Freebody has stuff all chance of success with his Disneyland when he diverts the Barron River floodplain on the Northern Beaches (sorry Machans).
To the real world we all know this park at Edmonton is an asset to the Cairns community and ironically, if the faults identified in the first report were actually followed out and acted upon by the previous Byrne Council (of which Freebody was a member?) it would have cost us a damn sight less.

monty said...

Please don't complain about the lack of people attending. How was this rally advertised? I don't listen to local radio and I don't remember seeing anything on the local TV news AND I wouldn't buy a Cairns Post in a
fit these days. I think therein lies the problem as I have a funny feeling that I am not alone.Not everyone reads cairnsblog. If you had the HOT FM Good Guys doing a Kool outside broadcast with free giveaways, you would have had thousands, such is the mentality of a large proportion of this community.

I-rate payer said...

"Angry at the thousands of people who couldn't get off their computers to come down to forum No Excuses just too lazy most of them"

Lazy, or they just don't care?

I think it's quite obvious, by the dismal turnout, that very few people care about Sugarworld, or whether or not it's repaired.

As to Freebody, he can bankrupt himself for all I care, at least it won't be ratepayer's money he squanders.

Keiren said...

I-rate you must be a goose, sugarworld slides are used so much by ratepayers most weekends its hard to get a carpark it's that busy. Also you goose the park has paid for itself over its life. People like you will only drag Cairns back into the dark ages, go back to the 1970's goose.

Lisa Robbie said...

Michael, your report publicises our plight. It's not been easy to get media attention - so yes indeed, Thank you.

Blogster said...

I think I read somewhere that Freebody's park costs 3.5 million (mind you, I believe it was the front page of TCP). If that is indeed the case, then howcome is fixing an existing park more expensive?

James Farrin, Smithfield said...

Blogster... $35 mill... but it will never go ahead...... what nutter investor/s would throw ANY money at a project that he wants to build in the middle of a river system??!!!!!!!!

Smithfield Sam said...

I'm in complete support of spending $4M and more on repair of Sugarworld.

All the tradies and contractors from Brisbane need the work and economic stimulus.

As for Freebody, his failed waterpark will just be his current failure in a string of failures. The story I like the most is how the Toys R Us slick-o's from America used a "phony lease" to convince Freebody to sell his Super Toy World for less than the stock in it. It shows him up for the greedy ignornant businessman he is.

I-rate payer said...

Keiren, a goose is someone who can't take another opinion without resulting to insults, so tuck that long neck in, and un-ruffle your feathers.

The car park has 100 slots, there are over 130,000 people in Cairns, and the park has NEVER paid for itself, which was the reason the council took it over, to stop it closing down.

Not a water slider said...

I-rate payer, when you put yourself in a position to be critical of others you need to have a watertight case otherwise you will be found out for what you really are...a goose!

The 'Sugarworld Water Slides' were originally located in Grafton Street where the 'Pentagon Building' is today.

The then Operator of the water slides closed down because in the early 90's it wasn't a financially going concern and offered the slides to the Council for purchase.

The Council did so and placed them on a park at Edmonton where the sugar mill was once located. This park was given to the Council as a result of a sub-divisional conditional approval.

Perhaps, the community has moved on and does not wish to apportion blame but there are so many questions that need to be answered which the Community Forum glossed over.

Perhaps, I-rate payer with his/her less than accurate information would like to offer advice as to why the lack of an annual inspection by the Council, this and prior ones, came to pass when under Health and Saftey regulations inspection of public utilities is required annually.

'Not a water slider' would like to know why the following Councillors failed to act during their term of office on the 2004/8 Council.

For the record the current Councillors, Blake, Bonneau, Cochrane and Gregory, should explain the reason for their apparent 'dereliction of duty in the 2004/8 Council'

Seems a little suss to 'Not a water slider' that their mate Freebody, defeated in the 2008 election, is 'working' to have his beleaguered Marlin Coast, Barron River Delta water park stack up financially.

Anonymous said...

"Angry at the thousands of people who couldn't get off their computers to come down to forum No Excuses just too lazy most of them"

The last time a significant number of people turned up to protest about anything was about 20 years ago when then Mayor Keith Goodwin led a protest of 7000 people against a proposed development on the foreshore of Trinity Inlet.

Imagine that : a Cairns Mayor leading a protest...

But you are right Natasha. While people care about certain issues, very few will make an effort to do something about it.

While thousands of people signed a petition to save the Cairns Yacht Club, hardly anybody turned up at the various rallies.

I suppose people find it easier to set up some FaceBook site to register a "virtual" protest then get of their arse and actually stick their necks out.

I-rate payer said...

'Not a water slider" the fact remains that the slides have never made money and never will, and the council bought them for their continued use, playing semantics makes you look the smartarse, not me.

Oh, and my rates have just gone up another 5%, I wonder how much of that rise was due to the $4m for Sugarworld?

Ventures like this should be 'user pays'.

Lisa Robbie said...

Hey Mike

Did you receive my looooong comment?

Lisa Robbie

Lil at Yorkeys said...

Has anyone got the figures on the annual income/outgoings of Sugarworld for the last 5 years?
Has it made a profit? What's the turnover? I haven't seen these figures published in either the Compost or our Blog.

I would appreciate it.
I would ask my local councillor, Big Marg C., but unfortunately, the only issues she handles are ones which provide a photo-op. And photo-op on the other side of town is way beyond Marg's call.

Apart from which, she wouldn't look too good going down the bung slides in her bathers. Sorry Marg, but it's the truth. Wonder why she's so into sporting organisations? Have never worked that one out.
Ahhhh dimwit - a Photo Op - of course.

Brendan FitzGerald (via Facebook) said...

Oh... this 5%, shouldn't we now leave it to Private enterprise? lol

Stacey OBrien (via Facebook) said...

congratulations to the community for putting on the pressure. Love people power!!