4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News

4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News
4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News Led by John "Cueball" Mackenzie

22 August 2013


At a meeting between traders and management of the Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort project, some details on impact mitigation measures were floated to the public.

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 problem challenge.  We've engaged people to meet the Fung's big-thinking with. . . . .the same tired, small-town responses.  

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.  

These include:

•  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.


jim cavill said...

yep will get that surly not as it is real solution may need s to added as a requirement in approval process fat chance of that happening at from our end

Anonymous said...

Hill billies and Penguins

Anonymous said...

Who is going to pay for the new road to Yorkeys? Who is going to pay for the yacht and cruise ship facilities at Double Island? Remember the Double Island entrepreneur wants cruise ships to bypass the port of Cairns and to pull up at Double Island.

Anonymous said...

Who is going to pay for the new road to Yorkeys? Who is going to pay for the yacht and cruise ship facilities at Double Island? Remember the Double Island entrepreneur wants cruise ships to bypass the port of Cairns and to pull up at Double Island.

jim-bob jnr said...

I like your solution HBW. Good one! One thing which bothers me about this Fung proposal and Im just gobsmacked Mackenzie hasn't been on to it, what about crocodiles? The Yorkeys Knob boat ramp is fucken notorious for crocs hanging round. We get a bit of a flood and over the wall into the AQUIS moats they go. Another thing is the overdone colour of the blue water on the AQUIS glossy advertising pictures. The water out there isn't that clear or azure blue. Most of the time it's murky brownish green.
The buildings looks like something out of a fucken nightmare. Vulcan city alright. They're not what anyone could call tropical and they look as hot as hell holes.

Anonymous said...

What about the sports stadium HBW? Doesn't that cater for another 25,000 people? Which means if a game was being played, there could be up to 35,000 plus people there in the complex. This is serious shit about transport.

CBD Warrior said...

Good analysis, HBW.

The numbers don't lie. And I find that people around town show surprising ignorance about how big a $4b project actually is. This is likely more investment in Cairns than EVERYTHING WE'VE SEEN SINCE 1990.

And transport is as you've pointed out a major stumbling block.

I like how you think. Light rail as you've shown keeps the CBD alive. Good onya.

JETHRO said...

The hillbillies don't have a clue as to how its going to change their lives up here. Holloways Beach, Reed Road, Yorkeys Knob Palm Cove - all those people are going to find their beach suburbs change. Fireworks, laser and light shows, helicopters, seaplanes, all sorts of ocean craft, thousands of people on their beaches. Then there will be the big sports matches with 25000 people roaring away, the big rock concerts with 25000 people screaming. Then there will be the endless road traffic even if there is a light rail system built. All I can say is Im glad, glad all over, Im on the Southern side of the city.

Bazza said...

Pat Flanagan was the expert when down under tours wanted to operate their buses from the old Crawford chook farm at Stratford. He made a presentation of the traffic flow at the entry and exit of the intersection at Passchendale street, he forgot to show the right turning lane as would be required and no mention of what would happen to the power poles especially the one which is the feeder up Passchendale. He made a complete fool of himself, admitted it was all wrong and left the meeting.

sunfish said...

thanks for you article. I'm not pro this development but if I was a local politician and it seemed fait accompli I would be definitely be making a play future proofing the transport solution the north of Cairns CBD and any related south of Cairns, as a price for the development of this behemoth. I'm talking about ALL transport needs not just those generated by the casino. With some kind of light rail or tram infrastructure hub in CBD/airport a good part of the cost for hooking the southside of cairns will be covered as well.
The comments you have made about town planning compliance I fully agree with. Many of the planning and building permit decisions made in this town are an absolutely disgrace and make a mockery of design rule compliance and common sense road safety.
You don't have to drive more than one block on any major road round this city too see how council is just plain stupid. Look what the have done with the "upgrade" of Grafton Street removed the bike lane and increased the traffic speed flow back to two lanes. Thats in area by the markets where we can have more legitimate on street pedestrian foot traffic and shopping related parking issues than any other part of cairns. Talk about moving backwards. What idiot authorised that "improvement"?

ruby said...

sunfish, our local politicians aren't doing anything but creaming their jeans over Tony Fung. Let's face it, none of them are going to be around when the problems start, so they don't give a rats shit about the future of our city or region. It's all about the NOW thing with the LNP lot we have in public office. Our local tourism industry faces a real challenge from the monolithic AQUIS Resort once it is operational. Realistically we can expect to see some hotels, restaurants go under. Our own convention centre, funded by ratepayers will take an enormous hit. Ditto our current casino. AQUIS will boot it one up the proverbial arse.
A resort of this size and magnitude catering to hundreds of thousands of people on a yearly basis will have an impact on the nearby beach and marine ecology. That is guaranteed.
The laidback residential ambience of our northern beaches such as Holloways, Palm Cove, Yorkeys itself, Reed Road and BlueWater will be changed forever. People pressure, noise, accelerated development, pollution, all will take its toll on these suburbs.
It is criminal that AQUIS and our so called community leaders have suppressed any fullscale rational community debate on this huge issue. The community needs a full and comprehensive discussion on just how enormous an impact AQUIS will have on our way of life.

Anonymous said...

Jethro old china plate Im with you mate. Im bloody glad all over too Im on the southside. Hallelujah, three cheers for being in Whiterock.

Bob R. said...

ruby, people have said this before. However the Cairns community are either asleep, too stupid or too money hungry to fully understand the huge ramifications this behemoth (thanks sunfish for the word) will have. Moreover there isn't anyone up there asking the hard questions as per usual. We need more balanced community debate, with everything out in the open. Instead it is all being obscenely fast-tracked, obviously by Campbell Newman, with limited time and opportunities for the public to have their say. Welcome to Newmania!

Anonymous said...

This is going to suck the oxygen out of the rest of the Cairns tourism industry. The owners of this will dominate to the extent it will be 'deal with us on our terms or go out of business'. And God help those living their suburban lives in its proximity (and that's everyone North of Machins). The traffic logistics don't bear thinking about ... and those that should; aren't. Scary eh.

Anonymous said...

The circus was In town the other week our leaders would make great clowns !

sunfish said...

Ruby I agree with what you have written post my comments.
I've lived in this town all my life, and based on what i have seen during that time, I just assume the develop at any cost mentality will prevail. To me as it is this town already is ruined. Though i assume it will get worse. I'm here because of legacy factors. I remember when you never would bother to lock car or house doors and when Sheridan street was just two lanes with Queenslanders and Poinciana's down the side all the way through to Grove Street. One traffic light north of Townsville at the head of Mulgrave Road.
Some people will call me a luddite but the beginning of the end was the extension of the run way for international planes.

Anonymous said...

Seen Pat on many a flight from Townsville to Cairns. Very red in the face on account of the booze in the Qantas Club. Be assured, if this project goes ahead, many retirees will pack up and leave. Mind you, in the long term the reef is stuffed with climate change, so many would say, make a buck while you can. Mr Fung has read the science and is hedging his bets.

Anonymous said...

"I remember when you never would bother to lock car or house doors"

Nothin' to do with development, my friend.
It's just our black bro's wanting what we got.
Call it village share mentality.

We fixed the problem in Port Moresby with razor barb, electric fences and handguns.

Worked a treat.

sunfish said...

Anonymous 22.01 that comment is outright racist.Is that what causes the crime issues on the Gold Coast. It is a known fact that areas with high level transient populations (read tourism) have higher levels of crime and lower levels of community awareness. I'm sure that census data population data will show a correlation between % of the increase of transient population resident in cairns and crime related statistics

RobArt said...

Waiting for Lyle Lanley to come to town with a used monorail for sale "I said Monorail Monorail".
I picked it up cheap from a neighboring town (Sydney).
That will get the Hillbillies exited.
Is Ken "Lyle" Chapman already in discussion to extend his Sky-rail to Aquis onto Airport and then to Cairns.
What a ride this town would be on then.

ruby said...

Well said sunfish. Yes we do have a high transient population. We also have suburbs where few people are home during the daytime. I know because I have been there and experienced it when I have been "house sitting". Believe me, it is a little scarey to find you are the only living thing, apart from several dogs, in several streets full of expensive homes.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe all this insanity about businesses bottom-line increasing with the building of this complex. All international casino - including this planned Aquis project - generally have their own hair salons, restaurants, cafes & coffee lounges etc. What do the local businesses think about this affecting their incomes? Aquis won't just take the clientele away from the local businesses, but could easily close them down. Even the yacht club that relies heavily on it's restaurant and sales of alchohol earnings, will feel the brunt.

Also, what about the fact that other developments have not been approved for the same area over the years because of the protected wetland and floodplain areas. The precedents have already been set and therefore, only a corrupt council would direct its civil engineers to give this farce the go-ahead. I would like to know why the EPA has not already stepped in to half this nonsense. It is not just a casino that would be a detriment to the wetlands but also any likewise structures that Aquis have on their drawing boards.

With a decent monsoon season the flood water already reaches the 60kph roadsign at the start of the Yorkeys Knob built-up area on Varley Street. With this new complex and its associated buildings, a tremendous amount of flood water will be displaced that could force the flood water to encroach even further into the Yorkeys Knob suburb.

sunfish said...

i can't remember the details so I would prefer not to be quoted it is quite a long time ago now. Perhaps someone better resourced would like to follow this up further.

Aquis is making a big deal of their hydrologist's previous involvements including his involvement with Rainbow Harbour. But if my memory serves me correctly Rainbow Harbour was abandoned for technical reasons. It simply was not possible or totally contrary to prevailing environmental conditions to run a run a canal estate at that location . Indeed Premier Beattie (later?) banned future canal estate's for good reason. They are very problematic to maintain. and who is supposed to foot the bill for the maintainence?
Blue lagoon or whatever it is called only got through because after the EPA canned it there was such an outcry Beattie caved in to pressure. Lots of people had bought speculatively prior to its approval and boy did they squeal when it was not approved.
So now CAIRNS REGIONAL COUNCIL is stuck with the bill for keeping the channel open for blue waters forever. I have no idea of the cost of dredging and wether rate payers in general or somehow only those who benefit directly from this channel pay this cost.
To get back to my point while i make no comment on Neil Collins professional skill or qualifications which I am sure must be excellent. I think it says something that he was involved in a dead end project on that site previously which if it had been approved would have attempted to graft a canal estate on too what is basically a shallow mangrove estuary. I guess someone had to do it but seems a bit of a sycophant to me.
maybe i'm stretching a point but seems it does seem worth making to me.

Anonymous said...

Newman has watered down the EPA and left it a toothless tiger.

SBM said...

There is no EPA. Labor incorporated it in the super-department DERM which was hung, drawn and quartered by the Newman govt and is now in a state of paralysis.

Re the folly in the floodplain, what is it going to do our insurance premiums when it is, inevitably, hammered by floods/cyclone/storm surge/tsunami (or just mould)? What will it do to our water reserves as it draws down on Cairns city supplies? And who is going to pay for the necessary new substation that Ergon will have to build?

And the crocs won't need a flood to wash them in - they can walk significant distances overland to a nice new wetland. That's the good news!

Anonymous said...

Thanks SMB for the information. The LNP have made much ado about cutting green tape so I guess there will be scant attention paid to environmental issues with this AQUIS monstrosity.

Clifton Beach Resident said...

On the agenda at Council Meeting this morning, is the request for Aquis to tether a blimp or weather balloons so we can visualise the height of the buildings. The highest building is going to be 25 - 35m higher than Yorkey's Hill and the other buildings the same height as the hill. Will be interested to see if the Airport has anything to say about blimps and weather balloons being in the flight path.

Anonymous said...

So old Yorkeys will be all lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree once the AQUIS is up and running. Everywhere you look will be the lights of Mr Fungs monstrosity.

Hamish Krint said...

If I'm right, no-one seems to have mentioned the need for an extra dam besides Copperlode to supply fresh water. Takes a long lead time to build. Or are we just going to recycle everyone's pee instead? That takes a long lead time to build too......

Anonymous said...

WOW! Just when we were feeling homesick for good ol' Victoria - this new Casino, with its 9 hotel brands (3,750 rooms) and sports stadium, etc.) will make us feel like we are back home in Melbourne again - noise pollution on a grand scale 24/7, traffic congestion 24/7, even more water and power rationing and a terrific boost to crime. You local Yokels have had it good for far too long - now welcome to the real world. I wonder if any of the City Councillors live out here to enjoy the benefits of this great project?

Anonymous said...

Cairns has been notoriously known as been one of Australia’s sleepiest cities, famous for been financially dependent upon tourism. Existing from year to year, upon the snatches of transient backpackers, families and Japanese tourists.
Cairns boasts excellent attractions such as the barrier reef, Kuranda rail, tropical zoo, sky diving horse riding walking. Whilst I agree we are very lucky to live in such a beautiful tranquil and green environment. Are we really sure that cairns can remain to sustain its self and our children for many years to come upon these few attractions. Whilst we do not want cairns to be a mirror image of the gold coast we cannot ignore the fact that cairns has absolutely no industry. Most families are now moving from cairns from lack of employment. while we say why does that matter to us as local residents?.Are we really happy that we cannot offer a choice of employment to our children and childrens, children?. Accept facts our children will continue also to move from cairns for work also.
This venture will offer 10,000 jobs firstly to cairns residents prior to employing their own staff. The availability of 18000 staff accommodation would mean staff could work and stay upon the premises after night shifts and not have to drive. Currently in cairns no employer can currently offer this to their employee.
The extra traffic on the road of course is not favourable. However if Aquis are true to their word and build four lanes for traffic our roads will be upgraded. Of course it will ruin our drive home, we will sit longer in traffic. I think this is a small price to pay for massive amounts of jobs on offer.
Historically local businesses eager to thrive often appear like locusts upon the unsuspecting tourists,. Tourists know and sence this!.Tourists are transient and cairns suffers major dips in profits when the tourists leave to go to other cities. Young international travellers want more excitement from their holidays not just what we currently have on offer. After hosting overseas students for the last 3 years I was horrified to realise many thought cairns was a boring city. With concerts, art exhibitions, and sporting events all contained in one area we could offer all the trappings of Melbourne and the Goldcoast yet with far more stunning beauty.
local businesses talk about losing their businesses what we must understand is that this resort is a 7 star resort unlike any resort in Australia to date. Currently Dubai can only compete with the 7 star hotel The Burj. The clientele will have 7 star style money to spend! whilst it is true some guests may opt to get their hair done and drink their coffee at the resort. Surely of 4,000 guests you do not believe they will sit in their rooms or stay their whole holiday at the resort. Even if only 2,000 guests used local attractions during their stay this would massively boosts cairns economy. This would mean more visitors to our local tour operators and local attractions. Overall cairns would be taken seriously no longer a city of backpackers but a diverse city able to compete with other major cities able to meet the needs of both ends of the market. This venture would create an abundance of visitors creating no peaks and troughs in trade. local real estate agent state water front property has already gone up 50,000 dollars at the northern beaches. Some yorkys knob residents are already planning to hold off their sale of property smart move if the venture goes ahead! they are set to make thousands of dollars more. Get on board cairns we need this venture!!!