Developers of the Cairns Aquarium project were gobsmacked last week when the Council brought forward their development approval with a $3,000,000. parking brick attached.
These developers, Cairns Aquarium and Reef Research Centre P/L, were planning their project with NO onsite parking. Their parking consultant, Arup, is well aware of the off-street parking requirements in Cairns. And yet their development package suggested they would need less than 40 spaces, and (wink, wink!) we can let these employees park on the street. The developers have told many in town that they were deceived - they had been told by at least one councillor with development experience that there was no sentiment to burden this project with on-site parking.
The developers were therefore stunned when they first saw the Council officer's recommendations for parking. Numerous attempts were made by them to get to the Mayor thru the various high-paid suits he has running interference for him. We understand when finally confronted about this parking requirement Manning said he 'tried to get the bats moved but Terry James insists all the councillors should get croc skin Birkin bags first'.
Nor would the rest of the Council who voted to demand their $3M payment for parking they didn't provide. And even this number is generous by those who looked at the business plan - other experts believe this project should have 200+ spaces to service staff and customers. The Peter Tabulo short parking requirement strikes again - with evidence all over town that Cairns developers rarely pay their own way. The current Aquis Casino and Hotel proposal is short about 2000 carparks. . . . we wonder what kind of "winks" have been given to *THEIR* consultants???
Of course in Saturday's Cairns Post some blockhead in Machans Beach (we know, that's redundant) has computed that the meter and painted lines can't justify a Council charge of $26k+ for one parking spot. I guess the hillbilly moron thinks land and/or parking structures are free. . . .
Other callers expressed outrage that Council would demand 114 parking bays for this project - despite the fact that traders around the CBD routinely complain of parking shortfalls.
It's clear that there is little support for $3M in "corporate welfare" while so many other ratepayer needs go unaddressed. The same reason Council is stiff arming the traders on Lake Street who've seen their businesses decimated by the inept execution of the Lake Street upgrade. Manning meanwhile just shrugs his shoulders and says "not my problem" while the developers contemplate suing the Council for misleading them.