Saturday, 12 January 2013
The latest plan from Federal MP Warren Entsch for a redeveloped Cairns City Place, is causing a stir.
City Place in the heart of Cairns CBD has been redesigned more often than a Baghdad shopping mall. The latest pipe dream still has zero shade or tropical trees. What next? A giant mosquito?
Even Warren's pretend love-child, Jack Andrew Wilkie-Jans is far from amused.
"I'm sorry, I am a great supporter of Warren Entsch and he is a friend of my grandmother's and has always supported me, but Land of the Fountains is cray-cray!" Jans said this morning.
Jans says the proposal looks way out of proportion and too much emphasis on rocks, the characters used to symbolise Far North Queensland look to be a mish-mash of tourist souvenirs.
"So if Lake Street doesn't get opened up, we could get stuck with this?' Jack Jans says. "Please send in better ideas or designs for fountains! If people want to go down the central, fountain approach then that's fine, but at least get the design to be apart of public art or something with sculptural artists such as Gianni Sabaini, to design a water feature/sculpture. Otherwise fountains depicting events of significance to our history will end up looking like a god-awful child's diorama."
The design and plan has been created by local architect Garry Masters, and Warren Entsch says it is part of a project called Land of the Fountains, which they say will bring both short and long-term economic benefits to Far North Queensland.
"Before going too much further, think about your photo album from a holiday overseas, whether these travel snaps are of ancient ruins, pretty villages or a modern city, there is a common theme – people love to pose in front of fountains," Warren Entsch wrote in today's Cairns Post. "Then what do they do? They send their photos to friends all over the world, and in doing so are promoting the region at no cost to the tourism industry."
"Now picture a Far North Queensland take on this, with a network of 21 large, individually designed and constructed fountains depicting our early history and significant events. Located throughout the Cairns, Douglas, Cassowary Coast, Cook and Tablelands regions, they would provide a meeting place and hub for residents and visitors, Entsch says. "These fountains would be built from a combination of reinforced concrete, polished granite and marble, bronze statues and natural materials such as the boulders seen at Mossman Gorge, with programmable light and water displays."
Warren Entsch says this is especially timely given that a public consultation process for City Place will take place over the next two months, where people have the chance to outline their vision for the CBD.
"As you can see from the artist’s impression, there’s no doubt that a spectacular water feature would provide a much-needed heart for Cairns," Entsch said. "Just up the road, Munro Martin Park is another key CBD area that has never reached its full potential. Wouldn’t it be great to drive down Sheridan St and see people having a lazy picnic on the grass around the fountain, while their kids play nearby?"
There was mixed support for the idea, which would mean the saving of City Place.
Local political and community activist Margaret Pestorius says it's a good idea.
"It's Lake St because there was a lake there. I reckon a system of water features and fountains would be great. Seems it may have been a meeting place - a food place. Water and food, sounds good," says Margaret Pestorius.
However Beverley Prescott says it's not correct to say that Lake Street was named from the fact of its being a lake.
"The street was named after Captain Lake, of the A.S.N. Company’s steamer, Victoria," Prescott says. "The steamer, Victoria, conveyed the Government officials to open up Cairns as a port of entry, which was done in the customary style by a luncheon on the steamer on November 1, 1876."
As the debate rises over the future of City Place as a public space, Nickie Comley is pleased with the discussion.
"Keep community spirit alive and City Place is the perfect place to inject some real sense of spirit in this city... Lets not just become another boring city with no soul."