Manning was full of himself as he announced this sale, proclaiming that "the saviours" had arrived. Manning left out salient details however. Details that are now scaring the wits out of CBD traders and Northern Beaches residents as the word gets out.
It has been puzzling why the big-note LNP councillors and MP's didn't jump immediately on an interim large-ship cruise facility at Yorkey's Knob. For less than a million $$ they could have easily fixed this area used for cruise ship tender boat arrivals. At least until they figured out what to do about the inlet.
The Member for MacKenzie Gavin "Don't Rape Me" King along with his sidekick Michael "Hide the Backhoe" Trout have been dragging their feet and refusing to move any relief forward, with arriving tourists greeted by a barren carpark and spotty bus service. But they're on the "inside" of this one and know what's coming.
We now know why all of this is in suspended animation - the Chinese have reportedly demanded that the large cruise ships have passengers tendered to Double Island instead of Yorkey"s Knob! The island is proposed by the new owners to be a "cruise passenger village" along with passengers tendered from Palm Cove jetty to the island. And the Chinese have also demanded that this project be removed from Cairns Non-Regional Council development approval processes, instead "fast-tracked" by the state government. All of these are conditions in the sale, a signing that Manning happily witnessed last year at the Kewarra Beach Resort. And conditions that have been hidden from the community, and any hope of public consultation.
The tendering of large numbers of boats at the island will require a much larger jetty and breakwater, as the currents in this area make boat operation difficult and some say dangerous.
A breakwater likely to have a major impact on Palm Cove, Clifton, and Kewarra beaches at the very least.
So instead of busloads of tourists heading into town from the largest and most extravagant ships, they'll be skimmed off by the Chinese to experience Cairns without all the pesky drunks, backpackers, and other locals. A "Wallaby World" where the Chinese will control everything - vending, restaurants, souvenir shops, the whole dumpling.
Some are suggesting that this will be the "permanent solution" for the large cruise ship market, with Palm Cove seen as a better representation of the region than the CBD. And no reason for that pesky $120M dredging bill.
"Sleepy" Manning has not disclosed these plans to the council, although several insiders apparently know what's on the cards.
The Chinese remaking of Cairns has begun!