And the "solutions" being proposed sounded like the same old small-thinking Cairns engineers and developers instead of the kind of 21st Century, advanced and green solution to what will obviously be a massive transport
Not good enough!
Just get your arms around this: a resort on this one site, with almost 4,000 rooms and 1,800 staff accommodation, that will have upwards of 15,000 people on site or trying to get there. Think of the kind of traffic congestion going to the Gabba, or Suncorp Stadium for a footy game. EVERY DAY.
The resort is touted as employing some 10,000 people. Considering most will be Cairns residents, and likely most living south of the CBD (where all the housing growth is taking place), these are up to 10,000 car trips daily between Edmonton and Yorkey's Knob.
There are some 10-15,000 resort guests, coming and going daily from the airport as well as hopefully day trips to local attractions. Ken "Ken the Cabbie" Pyne said just last week that "they'll be able to put on 100 more taxis, and start making some real money". What a moron.
This resort CANNOT operate this way. "Ken the Cabbie" and Pat Flanagan's proposed solutions are both idiotic, guaranteeing chaos for everyone in Cairns for years to come.
Pat Flanagan is a former employee of Council's development department, who like many in this field became a consultant to use their expertise and connections to push projects thru the Council process. Flanagan Consulting Group Pty Ltd is responsible for some of the most absurd projects in town.
And it's the job of these type of consultants to produce a project with the barest minimum of compliance to the town planning code. A code that in many cases does the barest minimum to produce good quality projects. This planning mindset is the cause of planning failures we see everyday _ the massive shortfall in carparks that we see all over town, the buildings dropped on property lines with no green space, and boxy prison-like structures that maximise investor profit but do nothing for a 21st Century city.
Add to that the LNP government and Joh Bjelke Newman's "No Money for Cairns" philosophy, and it's already starting to be obvious that the LNP government expects Cairns to get a $4B private investment with NOTHING tipped in by the government who will collect the millions in gaming revenue. Leaving Cairns with infrastructure shortfalls that will affect the community for decades. What the fuck do they care - the gaming revenues will be all spent on Brisbane if we let them.
Thses are the kinds of blockheads the Fungs have employed to develop solutions for their project. You "employ local" only at your own risk.
The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore was required to have an MRT (subway) station AT THE DOOR of the project! This station is moving the bulk of fly-in guests (with direction connection to Singapore Airport) as well as most of the workers. The MBS project has 2500 car parks on site, with another 650 a shuttle-bus ride away. Aquis? Just over 500. Clearly something is wrong here.
So Flanagan Consulting Group gets hired and they put on their thinking cap and come up with? . . . .ignorant, small-town hillbilly solutions.
• Putting Yorkey's Knob road on pylons above the known flood level (that's a given).
• Four-laning Yorkey's Knob road
• An overpass on the Cook Highway (sure)
Sadly, not enough. And the Cook Highway and Western Arterials are already in need of upgrades (the Kennedy Highway roundabout is overloaded, the Western Arterial needed four-laning five years ago, and the entire Cook Highway goes under in times of flood - not just Yorkey's Road.
Real solutions will require real investment. Ideally, the Fung's as well as the community should be thinking about how to move people around Cairns without cars, and without reliance on a mickey mouse bus company that has never shown any initiative.
At a minimum, Aquis needs to be provided with a mass-transit solution from their site in Yorkey's Knob to the airport. Likely suited to light rail, this would transport guests from an airport terminal in an almost direct line thru the cane paddocks to Aquis. About 7km, perhaps $140 million. Eliminating the need for dozens of buses, and thousands of vehicle movements on the already overloaded Cook Highway.
And the real gain comes from extending this line to the CBD,
again a straight line from the terminal to the CBD - down the Esplanade and terminating near the pier. Day trips to the reef from the CBD. Restaurants, tourist features, and keeping our CBD alive. Build a couple thousand car parks and you've got the solution to moving workers to their jobs at Aquis.
All in, about 13km of light rail - all in likely no more than $300M. A project equal in length to that now under construction at the Gold Coast, in much simpler terrain. And the required investment that would be needed from upper levels of government if they're serious about attracting any kind of integrated development from our Asian neighbours.
It's these kinds of problems that MP Michael Trout is getting paid to resolve. He's busy taking bows before one sod is turned, apparently only wondering how many backhoes will go missing.
Our recommendation to the Fungs? Let the Flanagan Group design the sewage system, the water system. When it comes to transport, a key fundamental in this kind of project, look to big thinkers to apply 21st Century solutions. The local planners have been too long doing the wrong thing to save a few bucks for the likes of the (bankrupt) Hedley's, CMC, CEC, and others. Look to others for the real solutions. You're not going to get them from these hillbillies.