White was vociferous in his attacks on the location of the Entertainment Centre at the dud community meeting held a fortnight ago and organised by Barry "Residents against Aboriginals" Neale. White continues to claim that we shouldn't be building on this waterfront site because "it's needed for the ports".
This argument has been continually refuted by the trustees and planners over the land, Cairns Ports, who are happy to whack another shitty apartment building on this site if the council fails to move forward with the Entertainment Precinct.
Goaded by Rugnut MacKenzie, Fred White this week has attempted to sharpen his attack, now pretending to be a swami looking into the future. His argument is thus: we shouldn't use this land as part of this CBD project because perhaps 50 or 100 years in the future, we *MAY* need this area for shipping needs. This despite the fact that he, as owner of the largest shipping company in Cairns, has shown no need for this area in their business plans.
There are two problems with this argument. The first is that historically, as cities grow, their in-city port land is abandoned to shipping needs and pushed further out of the city centre. No one wants a city centre built around a dirty, noisy, congested and sometimes dangerous port. If you're really thinking 50 or 100 years into Cairns future, any city planner would agree that all of this in-town port land (including the petrol farm) will be pushed elsewhere, eventually. THAT'S the future of the port, not some mythical use of port land at the end of Sheridan Street for some kind of heavy port use.
But face it, the use of the Cairns Port was set in 1925 when the Tully Mill decided to ship their sugar from the Port of Townsville, instead of the much closer Cairns. The government's description of Cairns as a "boutique port" is apt.
If we really wanted to improve shipping service into Cairns, we'd upgrade the rail from Townsville port to Cairns to world standard gauge instead of the "Mickey Mouse" narrow gauge trains we're forced to run, and build an intermodal train to truck terminal in Portsmouth, designed to move standard intermodal containers used all over the world. THIS should be the 50 to 100 year plan for freight movement into Cairns, not Fred White's ignorant musings.
This "future" argument is ignorant of the facts and history. The "future" argument is a red herring, designed only to derail the Entertainment Precinct. It's the kind of argument that hillbillies without two brain cells to rub together jump on when Rugnut tells them "how high".
Secondly, any major port expansion will require at least one heavy port crane, like found at Townsville. Townsville invested in their first heavy crane in 1896, and installed their current container-ready crane in 1974. I don't see Fred White stepping up and investing in this kind of infrastructure - he's apparently happy with his inefficient, expensive, and environmentally unfriendly operation of his fleet. When business owners like Fred White start pushing their own agendas under the cover of "helping the community", it's usually the first step in then making some argument that WE, as taxpayers, should be paying for HIS shipping infrastructure.
See Fred, this is what *REAL* thinking about the future looks like, not some scam designed to get others to pay for your infrastructure!