The sleaze factor was shifted into overdrive this weekend, as newly-minted politicians all struggled to share the limelight at the opening ceremony of the refurbished Shed 2 and boardwalk extension in our "working port". The real planners, including Dr. Ken Chapman, were no where to be seen.
Beaming at the head of the line was Brett Moller, happy to take credit for work done by the previous management at Ports North - and the ALP government. Gone was any hint of the fear that gripped Moller when he issued a report in his former job, squawking "the sky is falling", with a bullshit attack on the Entertainment Precinct waterfront site as in danger from explosion. Funny, this risk of explosion or toxic chemicals didn't stop the crowd from slamming back highly-explosive cocktails.
Much of the crowd kept their distance from Crs O'Halloran and Schilling, who apparently believe public service includes primate-like standards of dress and decorum. With their beat-up thongs again proving suggestions that Cairns was being run by an FNQ "white shoe brigade" are proving highly premature.
All the hoopla is also premature, and likely will prove in time the project a dud. Remember the previous Trinity Wharf project on this site? It was an embarrassment, an economic black hole, a commercial failure. Even turning it into a Greyhound terminal couldn't save it from bankruptcy. So what's different now?
Consultant reports and risk analysis for the project are now missing from public view, with the reports disappearing from both the Ports North files as well as the CRC. An insider at Ports North claims that the consultants all rated the project at "high risk" for commercial failure without a final connection to the Entertainment Precinct block, immediately west. With nothing to draw tourists down the new boardwalk, they turn around at the Hilton and walk back into town. Nothing to see at a "working port", anyway. It's good they included cameras in the plans, as this mile of "Boardwalk to Nowhere" will soon be a mugger's paradise by night.
Moller, Manning, and others stupidly believe that jamming an "upscale restaurant" into the building, along with some "high end" shops (stupidly thinking that the new Chinese visitors are all millionaires) will make this precinct a success. Danny Betros was overheard schooling Gavin "Don't Rape Me" King on the fragility of the CBD leasing situation - telling him "no one in their right mind would put a restaurant here" without massive concessions from Ports North on the rent and fitout. Nothing like trying to explain a sweetheart deal to guys like George Karagianis or Tony Basha, struggling to make their covers every night. More grief for King on the horizon.
And while an "amazing and creative" rugrat play area has been set up just east of the Shed, today found it empty mid-day while Muddy's was chockablock. Mum's won't be paying for a park at the Shed when Muddy's is free, and shady.