Friday 11 February 2011

'David' won in battle of Earlville's hillslopes

It was a battle of David and Goliath, so some locals said, but those who live below the mighty CEC Group property magnate Roy Lavis, have won a long-running legal challenge to protect and stop any development on the Earlville hillside.

Lavis owns a 30 hectare block of hillslopes at the back of Earlville, alongside World Heritage area rainforest. The block is the only freehold block that runs right up the hill front.

Yesterday Lavis' company, Kingfisher Investments, retracted their appeal with the Planning and Environment Court
to overturn the Cairns Regional Council's refusal to allow the application that would have allowed the hillside to be subdivided.

"It would have changed the status of our pristine rainforest," local resident and campaigner Ben Price said, who helped form the Cairns Hill and Habitat Protection Inc to fight the subdivision.

"This means we, the local residents, have won and the status of the Mansfield Street rainforest ridge line, the special creeks associated with it and visual back drop of our town is safe," Price says. "I would like to thank those people and members who have shown commitment and stamina throughout the long and tiring process."

Cairns Regional Councillor Kirsten Lesina, whose division encompasses the Earlville hillside, worked closely with Mansfield Street residents over the last 16 months.

"Well done to everyone involved," Lesina said. "It is great to see a group of residents so dedicated to preserving our hillslopes."

Ben Price also acknowledged the team at the Environmental Defenders Office in Cairns.

"They provided invaluable advice and their own hard work to help this happen."

It was a rare occasion whereby Cairns Regional Council stood by their initial decision to disallow the development and were committed to preventing the project. Earlville residential who fought to protect their hillslope says the Council deserve recognition for this. On some occasions Council officer reports are ignored by Councillors when the evidence is compelling, as was the case to construct a waterpark ion the Barron River Delta.

"Remember, David can beat Goliath and the system can work," Ben Price says.

No comments: