Wednesday 17 November 2010

Freebody's waterpark plan a 'litany of broken promises'

A former Mulgrave Councillor has launched an attack leveled at waterpark developer Paul Freebody, predicting his planned $30 million park will probably never go ahead.

Ross Parisi, who has been farming on the Barron River Delta for 30 years, calls former Cairns Councillor Paul Freebody's plans, "litany of broken promises."

While Cairns waits patiently for the much-vaunted employment surge caused by the construction of Adventure Waters water park, the site at Smithfield, just South of the Yorkeys Knob roundabout, continues to be a blot on the landscape. Located adjacent to the Captain Cook Highway, it is not a pleasant and inspiring visage to the passing tourist let alone the Marlin Coast residents and tourists that travel this road daily.

Of course, the view is not the only problems that arise from a litany of broken promises. The state of the derelict condition of the old derelict building located on the site, is of greater concern, in particular to the children of Caravonica School, the residents of Smithfield Heights and to the nearby adjoining residents.

The community is constantly reminded by the authorities nonetheless, by the weather bureau, of the impending more intense than normal, monsoonal wet season, along with the potential of extra cyclonic activity. The region is already experiencing the consequences of such increased activity.

The loose iron roof cladding, along with the general disrepair of the building, is a disaster waiting to happen. Paul Freebody has had ownership of the site for in excess of three years and no maintenance/removal to the vandalised and graffiti-ridden structure, has taken place.

I understand that Mr Paul Freebody is having difficulty putting together the finance to make his water park happen. The much-publicised starting date as reported in the Cairns Post has come and gone. All the promised jobs have not eventuated. The principal reason for approval has proved to be a false premise.

This does not surprise me, due to the fact that the proposed facility is located within the Barron River Delta and bisected by an old river bed. I wrote a year ago, when I called for a moratorium, that the highway culverts opposite the proposed development are indicative of a channel. When the delta is in flood this section has extremely fast-moving water flows. The Cairns Regional Council should have deferred development, pending a Council-commissioned hydraulic study.

Any financier would be reluctant to fund a potential non-performing loan. While the community might be sympathetic with his bad investment predicament, the community nevertheless should not be burden with a derelict site.

Therefore, I find it incredulous that Cairns Regional Council can condone a $35 million development approved site, to remain a cyclonic-borne threat to the surrounding community. What I find more disturbing is that Paul Freebody and his development company are showing contempt for the community by their arrogant demeanour. His action or lack thereof, is synonymous with an errant corporate citizen.

My challenge to Paul Freebody is to rectify this situation forthwith and to show the Cairns community that he is indeed interested in the well-being of the local community. Perhaps, Mr Freebody could begin to create the promised employment opportunities by hiring unemployed people to clean up the site.

As a resident of the Cairns area for over 50 years, and a keen advocate of positive community action, I find it abhorrent that Mr Freebody allows such a situation to exist and continue unattended. Using the excuse that construction work is imminent will not wash with the community. It is unlikely that the project will go ahead and even if it did go ahead, it will not happen before this years’ monsoon.

On behalf of the community, I hereby call on Mr Paul Freebody to clean up the site of all loose material that is a potential threat to the well-being of the Smithfield Heights residents. Bring back the old excavator and put it to work.

Furthermore, if the site is not remedied satisfactorily by the end of November, then Cairns Regional Council should serve Mr Freebody with the appropriate notice to make the site safe from potential aerial debris.

The Cairns Regional Council representative for Division 8 is Councillor Cochrane. It is imperative of her to take a personal interest in this matter until it is satisfactorily resolved. The time has come for action, not more empty promises.


Rastapopoulos said...

And the hate Facebook site started by the Freebody kids continues unopposed

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

LOL, I'm betting the GFC took care of the finance situation, regardless of rain hail or shine.

Maybe they can find the old Cairns Waterworks slides under someone's house and get them up and running.

Am I mistaken, or is this development on the site of the old Vic Hislop shark show? Anyone know what became of the "main attraction"? I imagine a rotting great whit shark in a fishtank of formaldehyde being dumped in the Barron would have been noticed.

Someone should write a book on the history of dodgy tourist attractions of the Cairns area over the last 30 years. Anyone remember any more of these?

Matt CYP said...

The preserved shark was sold and shipped to Japan many years ago.
The old slides were reassembled at Sugarworld at Edmonton.
The site is suitable only for growing cane, or better still, re-establishment of the original lowland rainforest.

Matt CYP said...

And I had a look at the anti-Val hate site. You'd have to be a real a'hole to start this sort of crap, but it only has the occasional illiterate comment from kiddies. Nothing for our esteemed Mayor to worry about.
Bring on the cultural precinct, a world-class performance venue is just what Cairns needs, to complement the natural attractions.
It will bring international acts that currently skip Cairns when they tour Australia - and even get country people like me in to the city.

Jacob Orwell said...

Typical of Paul Freebody; a defeated ex-councillor, still mobilising his connections on the Cairns Regional Council. If the subject site was owned by an ordinary ratepayer and contained loose roofing iron, it would have had to be made cyclone proof ages ago. The Council literally would have thrown the rule book at the owner. Let’s see if the Council will act now that it has once again become a public issue. Come on Paul help solve the unemployment problem in Cairns. What Cairns needs is less talking, more action!

Anonymous said...

The anti cultural precinct brigade was in full swing again today on 4 CA with all the usual suspects bagging the project.

Kevin Byrne's unofficial election campaign has also been launched, I believe.

And a former member of the most corrupt state government this country has ever seen also made his usual contributions. It is hard to believe he wasn't aware of what was going on at the time and I think he'd be better off keeping a low profile.

Isn't is strange that most of the people who call this talk-back show are unhappy, grumpy and very unpleasant old blokes. I wish they'd all just go away and spare us their miserable, outdated views on the world.

Unknown said...

chris forsberg says:-

Let's give ex-Councillor Freebody a
little while longer to come-up with
his promised water park - but ex-
Councillor Parisi is correct in his
opinion that the former Shark Show
building is a shabby eyesore.

Live snakes have replaced dead sharks, trees and shrubs are
sprouting-through what was once the
roof - the building has been
vandalised and thoroughly trashed.
And countless sheets of galvanised
roofing iron and cladding are just
waiting to be blown every-which-
way (they are loose) in a cyclonic

Jacob Orwell is also correct - Council surely should have plonked
a 'This Property is Condemned' sign
on it years ago - and compelled the
owner to clean-up the mess....

Curious that Mr. Freebody has been
spared this expense and embarrassment...

chris forsberg bayview heights

Anonymous said...

Also check out the old drive-in site owned by Udo's mob.

The front fence is falling down and has been for months.

The old projector building is an eyesore covered in graffiti.

There are opened empty shipping containers in there.

Great corporate citizens these blokes!

Anonymous said...

Chris Forsberg, why are you using such a weird format for your postings ? It is very hard to read. In fact it is so annoying that I usually stop reading halfway through..

Unknown said...

Chris Forsberg answers Rastapopolous

Er - I just type-in my blogs like everybody else does - and have no
idea why they appear as they do (Syd Walker assumed it was an attempt to be poetic).

If you're 'annoyed' - so sorry.
Then again, reading every word is not compulsory...

A BETTER question might be WHY DO
YOU use a non-de-plume ? I have
never been reluctant to apply my
real name to any of my blog-comments - and I suggest that cairnsblog editor Mike Moore might
have fewer legal problems if anonymous 'contributors' ceased to hide behind pen-names...

chris forsberg bayview heights

Anonymous said...


It just makes it very hard to read and I do find your contributions interesting.

Why do I use a nom de plume ?

Ask MM about the threats he has received from some of the nutters posting on this blog.

If it was a requirement for all posters to post under their real names and the if the blog was strictly moderated, then I would have no problem using my real name.

Unknown said...

chris forsberg THANKS Rastapopoulos

Thank you Rastapopoulous - a fair
point about non-de-plumes - but Mike Moore (I think) is now moderating more assidulously - and
hopefully not too many nutters are
threatening to throw rocks on his roof...

If, say the Fairfax organisation, require real names for their blogging audience (and they do),
it would seem reasonable for all
such sites to require same...

chris forsberg bayview heights

Ross Parisi said...

Since my lead article appeared on CairnsBlog, 17th November, Freebody's site continues to remains a threat to the school children of Caravonica school, neighbours and Smithfield Heights residents. This situation is untenable and must be rectified sooner than later.

It seems unlikely that Mr Paul Freebody and his company will attend to his corporate duties before this summer's monsoon season which begins on the 1st December.

All sage predictions are for a severe cyclonic season, the beginnings of which the Cairns region is already experiencing with the unseasonal rains.

The community is cynical of his idle promises about starting dates and his commitment to alleviating the Cairns unemployment; one of the spurious reasons for approving this dubious development in a old Barron River channel in the middle of the Barron River Delta.

It disturbs me that the article did not attract any comment whatsoever from the Cairns Regional Council's Councillors or staff. They cannot simply abrogate their responsibilities by putting this problem in the 'too hard basket' for fear of offending Mr Paul Freebody's ego.

I will this coming week formal advise all concerned, including the Cairns media of the perilous state of the dilapidated building.

There is no time for procrastination or niceties. Responsibilities must be sheeted home to those that are elected to protect the public interest.

The time for action is now!

Oliver Deadlynch said...

Ross - have you actually officially reported Freebody's site to the Council, and not simply relied on their staff reading about it here?

MG said...

Oliver get back to making coffee and let council do what they do best not reply at all.........there are instructions from the Mayor to say the 'appropriate' response of -"its an internal matter and we are taking action"

Unknown said...

Ross Parisi is an old Mulgrave Shire political dog, (carrying a lot of Labor Party flees), that seems to be obsessed with this Freebody family enterprise.

You want a Council response? Here's an unofficial one.

The fact the Main Roads built a dam across the Baron River Delta and called it the Cook Highway didn't raise one complaint from this "farmer", nor from the Council that he was a member of.
The culverts you refer to provide provide a one in five year immunity. Freebody's Park has been conditioned to provide 100 years immunity.

Council (after months of due consideration), made a decision to aapprove, then Mulgrave Central Mill objected to that decision and took it to the Planning Tribunal, only to withdrew their objection some months later.

How frustrating to Freebody.

Why not give him a break? He has agreed to meet all the flooding conditions imposed upon this development.

It's a pity the old Mulgrave Shire didn't impose similar due diligence to some of the approvals made in their time. Issues at Caravonica, Trinity Park, Palm Cove etc come to mind.

Give me a call sometime Ross, I will elucidate.

Factman (Murray Langdale)

Bryan Outlaw said...

The entire Freebody "empire" is in free-fall. It's now evident that the lessees in his first waterpark venture (the car wash) have failed, and the Freebody's have been forced to take it back to run it at a loss. When the Freebody's first built the car wash (after "apprenticing" at car washes in Las Vegas, haha) they found out pretty quickly that the market for $25 car washes in Cairns wasn't anything like the US. They then sold off the business (keeping the freehold) to ex-Wangetti School teachers, who reportedly had access to cheap aboriginal labor. Now that this has failed to pan out, Freebody's will start to run this stinker again - all the while claiming it's a "great business".

This would seem to spell the death knell to any other waterpark ventures by the Freebody clan.