Clearly Manning NEVER intended to build this, or ANTHING. The cynics among us note that this failure is now only being addressed as the next council election looms ever closer.
The most concerning part of this whole sordid incident is how arrogant and dictatorial Bob Manning has become. The main promotional document (oddly provided secretly to Gavin King and his new attack blog prior to the official announcement), says "I'm writing today to tell you about The Precinct project which will go before Council for consideration and endorsement at a meeting to be held tomorrow". Our so-called representatives, a council WE elected to represent US, are no more than a Soviet Politburo taking orders from a dictator. Thousands of OUR dollars were spent on this glossy sales brochure with these words GUARANTEEING his sheep-like councillors will "aye" on cue, with nary a bleat from any of these gutless wonders. It's shocking that democracy has so thoroughly been gutted in Cairns. The electorate saw this kind of no-consultation, my way or the highway dictator at the state level. The reason Campbell Newman and his ratbags were so quickly removed, most would agree. With Stalin Manning holding only a dead carcass of a once-thriving company and a big government pension packet at the end of this term, "What, Me Worry?" is now the operative management philosophy at our once open and transparent Council.
So let's look what's being shoved down our throats. And let's start by looking through they eyes of Cairns' own Joseph Goebbels, Gavin King.
King's propaganda starts with a passive-aggressive attack on the man who defeated him as Member for Cairns. King, who disappeared after the election in a pout and notably NEVER called his challenger, and winner of his seat, to congratulate him on his win. By starting his explanation of the project with this manic-depressive attack, King confirms his comments are political. He then calls "The Precinct" "sensible, affordable, innovative, to meet the needs of Cairns for the next 50 years". So let's look at these adjectives and see if it really fits the bill.
The dictionary defines "sensible" as: "done or chosen in accordance with wisdom or prudence; likely to be of benefit". Clearly there is little division over the need for the Civic Theatre to be replaced (except for a few real blockheads). Is it sensible to replace a 670-seat theatre (built when the Cairns population was 30,000) with a 940-seat theatre now? During the last two theatre consultations (Schier and Byrne), the same conclusion was reached that the new theatre should be in the 1200-seat range. This took into account comments from the likely users (both local as well as traveling road shows) that 900 was too economically inefficient. A theatre that’s too small for the road productions is worthless. Terry James claims that “users tell them they want a smaller theatre as it is more intimate”. That’s why the Schier Council project had two separate theatres, dickhead. Explanation - FAIL!
Advance Cairns says that our population will be 340,000 by 2036 - just 20 years! How "sensible" is it to build a theatre that most agree isn't even large enough for our current population?
Well sure, what’s been proposed looks to be “affordable”. But where are the costings? And how reasonable are they?
The Kevin Byrne Council did extensive planning work on a site on Sheridan Street in 2000-2001. They put the cost at $95 Million for a proper facility. Byrne decided that this was too expensive, and didn’t even bother try to get a state or federal contribution.
So here we are some 15 years later, and some are willing to believe that a Bob Manning proposal at half the cost (after inflation) of the Byrne proposal is going to be a quality facility? Even the architects, Cox Rayner, freely said to the previous theatre consultation that “A 1000 seat theatre is going to cost $100m anywhere in Australia”. Clearly corners are being cut. BIG corners.
The current site sits just below the arrival path for the Cairns Airport. Actors on stage in the current theatre routinely learn to pause as the planes thunder overhead. It’s of course possible to design a facility in this location that minimises this noise - at a cost.
This sadly is the classic "small-thinker" mentality that is now driving Cairns. These small-thinker apparatchiks inhabit much of the machinery driving our city. Manning is the consummate professional in avoiding the moniker "tall poppy".
Our so-called tourism leaders claimed to have worked their
arses off trying to get an airline to service Cairns from Singapore. Kevin Brown and the tourism groups failed miserably, time after time. But everyone now agrees that it took a "big thinker" to move the airlines into action. That "big thinker"?
|ONE MAN AND ONE MEETING DID|
WHAT DOZENS OF MEETINGS WITH
LOCAL BLOCKHEADS COULDN'T
Affordable? Doesn't look like it - if we're stuck with a turkey for another 30 years!
NOTHING in the promotional documents from council shows anything “innovative” about this proposal. But of course there is bugger-all detail in any of these documents. We’re told that the project is underway, but only a handful of select, easily-manipulated few have been privy to any of the planning. Even senior officials at the choral society claim to know nothing of the details, and yet their leadership has been coached to offer their support for the (still unknown) facility.
What’s innovative about a new theatre that has no parking? This area of the city is a parking backwater. Why has no provision been made for parking? How does Council even get a building permit when the Cairns Plan calls for a minimum of 400 car park spaces??
The only thing “innovative” about this proposal is the depths that Manning is trying to go to get ground broken without talking to ANY of the public. He obviously didn’t learn his lesson from the Lake Street upgrade, but listening to him talk, it’s clear. He just doesn’t give a shit.
MUNRO MARTIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE
Bob Manning, spruiking the plan on the Cueball show, said a 2000 seat, open-air amphitheatre was included in the plan for the Munro Martin Park. He then went on to say “it won’t be covered” (so it’s useless much of the year) and “it won’t have a sound system”. He then boasted that we could have “orchestra concerts in the park”. Sadly, few will be able to hear.
We propose that it be named the “MANNING MEMORIAL SKIN CANCER ARENA"
As part of the “sales job” for this yet-to-be seen plan, landscape architect Andrew Prouse, who's apparently been contracted to design the botanic upgrade of the Munro Martin Park, was interviewed this morning. Prowse kept referring on the radio to "the brief he received from Council". A brief that has had NO public consultation. He's planning to start work in September. When were these contracts let? Who's calling the shots?? Why are we letting huge contracts with NO public bidding?
But, as Bob Manning has told so many - he doesn't give a shit, him and Claire go to Brisbane or Sydney to see a show.
Translation: "Let them eat cake". More like "Let them eat shit".