"Council is forecasting an average of $8.5 million per annum in operating losses from FY2017, translating to an average $95 per ratepayer per annum".
The review goes on to confirm that the proposed financial model as proposed by the Mayor and Council is completely viable. A full read of the analysis along with the other professional analyses of the project make this the best $95 per ratepayer this council has ever spent! And as the economy begins to tick over again and Cairns population continues to grow, this project is proving one of the most insightful advances by any Cairns Council, instead of some half-arsed project like built in MacKay, or proposed by Division 8 candidate Barry "Residents against Aboriginals" Neale.
However, led by John MacKenzie's triumphant proclamations that the "project is dead", fighting broke out on his radio program between Mayoral Candidate and Hillbilly Mother, Margaret Cochrane and her mentor and former Mayor Kevin Byrne, speaking from his hidey-hole in PNG. Cochrane asserted that her proposal is "to do nothing for two years", while Byrne lambasted Cochrane for this gutless approach, claiming instead that his proposal, which he was too gutless to push forward during his two terms as Mayor, should be "dusted off and implemented". The Byrne proposal, costed at $93 million over four years ago, would now clock in at least $120 million, with no provision for parking so desperately needed in the CBD. And the Byrne proposal, on a small site with no provision for expansion, does not even meet the requirements of his planning group but instead was sited adjacent to the now-dead Capital Globe apartment monstrosity. Capital Globe being a company Byrne was senior director with, until his partner Shaquil Hacque and associate Charles Young were murdered for apparent business reasons in Pakistan. Any coincidence Byrne pushed this site that belonged to his future employer? What is Byrne's financial incentive to push this dud site again? All great questions you won't hear answered.
Community leaders today have begun to push back, along with the silent majority of Cairns ratepayers who support the project. The guest letter in today's Cairns Post from Danny Betros (guaranteed to be ignored by Cueball), outlines again the reasonable case for the current proposal. A $95 per ratepayer cost for this project, which isn't predicted to be needed until 2017, still makes Cairns one of the most affordable council areas in Queensland. And there are still untapped areas of revenue available to Council.
As pointed out, others including the Gold Coast are lining up to eat Cairns' lunch. Warren Entsch is issuing press releases DEMANDING money from the state and federal governments for his pet sporting projects (he claims are "shovel ready", in fact a typical Entsch furphy). What is the ratepayer cost for the Entsch-proposed "rectangular stadium", a project that has no team available to occupy? Entsch had years in federal Parliament where his influence was so insignificant, he could barely scrape up $2 million for the Esplanade Lagoon, and he's done bugger all since beating "What Me Worry?" Jim Turnour, who also failed to deliver for Far North Queensland. This after Entsch gave begrudging approval to the Entertainment Precinct proposal - knowing full well that failure to do so will be cause for his losing his seat at the next election, which will likely occur anyway as voters realise the only thing "shovel ready" is the crap spewing from Entschies's mouth.
Cairns ratepayers want this project, but most of all they want their local politicians to start delivering the goods. Cairns pumps hundreds of millions of $$$$$ into Brisbane and Canberra. Our gutless local politicians are tools of the party, instead of working for the citizens. Cairns Council, led by Mayor Schier, have struggled mightily to pull a needed project together, including commitments for almost $100 million of OUR money from the state and federal governments. Even hillbilly spokesman Gavin King long ago supported this project, along with Warren Entsch, in the scaled-back version finally agreed among the councillors.
The council and local parliamentary representatives should not be duped by the dozen loudmouths on the radio, led by the most negative voice in the community. John MacKenzie was responsible for scuttling of the 1995 "new hospital" proposal, instead dooming us to its eventual destruction in a cyclone. MacKenzie fought hard against the Esplanade Lagoon, calling it a "ratepayer boondoggle". MacKenzie fought even harder against Mayor Tom Pyne's construction of the Council Chambers on Spence Street, calling it "Tom's Taj Mahal". MacKenzie is on the wrong side of every move forward in this town, and is always wrong!
Cairns voters want action, and will replace the weak and gutless among you. We're tired of not getting our fair share of infrastructure spending with OUR money. Marg Cochrane has just sealed her fate with the most gutless of positions - "let's do nothing for two more years". The "no" representatives are the ones who should fear the public's retribution at the next election, and the progressive "let's move Cairns forward" representatives will garner the rewards.