In a major announcement, the owners of Cairns Airport have confirmed plans to invest $1 Billion in the Cairns Airport over the next ten years. CEO Kevin Brown has been very effusive in his corporate plan designed to support Cairns as the world class "Gateway to the Asia Pacific" region and world class tourism supplier.
In their statement, they indicate that they're prepared to make this huge investment to ensure opportunities in tourism, sports, entertainment, and leisure-based destination tourism continue to grow in Cairns.
And then we have the newly elected Cairns Council, who are out of step with the "big thinkers" and instead believe they were elected to drive Cairns back into the 1950's. In a council report on the theatre planning at today's council meeting, they claim their plan is to "provide the proposed facilities at minimal cost, whilst delivering a facility that meets the expectations of the community". These are conflicting goals and cannot be achieved. Mayor Val Schier proposed a plan that "met the expectations of the community", but clearly not at "minimal cost". A "minimal cost" facility is a new, deficient theater like we currently have.
And this for what again is acknowledged as "Australia's Fastest Growing City". Why are they planning for a facility that will be obsolete before it's completed??
Interestingly, the council planning now underway has adopted most of the feasibility study work done by the Schier council, admitting on page 208 that "the needs of the Cairns community for additional performing arts facilities have not basically changed".
One of the needs identified in not just the Schier council work, but in the Kevin Byrne council's analysis was the requirement that a new theatre be of 1000+ seats, and acoustically appropriate for classical music. Don't be confused - this isn't just an orchestral requirement, but the standard for any theater used for live performance. It involves not just proper interior acoustics, but the appropriate level of construction so the audience isn't interrupted by airplane, automobile, or the noise from the adjacent "working port".
Building anything less is building a shed, like the current Civic Theater, with more seats. It's bullshit and clearly not in keeping with "the expectations of the community". Get real! Nor in keeping with the expectations of any of the business leaders in town, including the Chamber of Commerce.
Nor the expectations of the business leaders, who are investing in a forward-looking city, not a regional backwater.
Today's Council report suggests that they are still looking for a "public/private partnership" to build a new theater. Get real! No private investor is going to want to build a technically deficient theater in our fast-growing community. For any investor to get maximum return on their investment, they want a facility that has the LONGEST useful life, not the shortest!
For so-called "business leaders" said to have been the core of the "disUnity" team, these blockheads display less and less business acumen with every council meeting.
So we have a private company, the Cairns Airport, investing in Cairns as a "world class" community and we have leaders, listening to only the backward, retrograde elements of the community refusing to invest at the same level.