|YUP. SMACK DAB IN A WONDERFUL|
One of these is our Paradise Palms Golf Course.
As the Daikyo and others withdrew from Cairns during the Japanese economic meltdown, places like Paradise Palms were snapped up by development dickheads like Hedley who replaced the thoughtful, measured development plans with a rush downmarket. Assisted by guys like Kevin Byrne, who along with the poodle-like Peter Tabulo - who's pliability was rewarded by Bob "Sleepy" Manning four years ago when appointed, without any credible search elsewhere, as City Manager. Tabulo then dutifully moved the number two poodle, Kelly Reaston, into his former development job.
But as Cairns has slept during the holidays the destruction of Paradise Palms Golf Course has been completed. And with their restructuring complete, Daikyo has returned to Australia as a major developer, but they're steering well clear of Cairns now.
Spinmasters dutifully announced that Paradise Palms would be "reconfigured" for the construction of the council approved 585 apartment development called "Orchid North". The name is a not-too-subtle wink to the Chinese investors. And the developers, who employed a fung shui consultant, have embraced the "no apartment too small" designs approved by Manning for the (why hasn't it begun yet like we were told?) Aspial Nova8 project. Orchid North
Aspial's Nova8 constructed with great fanfare a sales centre and apartment models on Spence Street adjacent to Cairns Central . They have NOT opened it for the busy tourism sales seasons over the holidays (including the Chinese New Year crowds). Odd.
But all of this are just precursors to complete development of the golf course, turning it into housing like was done at Palm Cove by the Kevin Byrne council, to the howls of derision from the mostly Australian homeowners adjacent. Told "they were never promised it would always be a golf course", it disappeared to the bulldozers shortly after.
THIS IS NOW THE FATE OF PARADISE PALMS
When constructed by Daikyo, Paradise Palms was a world-class, championship level golf course. It hasn't seen a championship booking since Daikyo sold it to Tom Hedley - who did the first of the "reconfigurations". This shortened the course to below championship standards, even for the Women's PGA tour which occasionally books tour events on short courses. Paradise Palms boast that they are consistently rated "one of Australian's most challenging courses". This because the former water features haven't been maintained in years, leaving just rocky weed-choked areas where lakes and stream water features used to run. Of course it's challenging golf! Now we're told that the course is going to be "reconfigured" again. And the unit project has exploded from 150, to 212 last May, to the now massive 585.
Now we're told that the course is going to be shortened again. One real estate professional in the northern beaches said "the Chinese won't care - they don't golf, anyway". We suspect this isn't true, but shouldn't they at least be told before they pay for these rabbit hutches?
And shouldn't the community be consulted before a major piece of tourism infrastructure is tossed away?
The Gold Coast added golf course protection to their planning scheme in 2007 - recognising that golf courses are a complementary part of nature and open space and need planning protection from higher-order development. Cairns Council could have demanded such a statement from the owners of Paradise Palms, but did not. Daikyo never saw the reason to put this kind of protection into their planning documents, because they couldn't ever see how removal of a world class golf course could even be considered by some kind of planning idiot. The Gold Coast Council (often seen as dominated by developers) was even thoughtful enough to see the value of golf course protection from the idiots.
Previous approved plans for these sites, planned by HS Vision before their demise, had just 150 units in the space now approved by Bob Manning for 585. And it all went down without a wimper of objection from anyone on the rubber-stamp council. Not even the councillor Greg Fennell, who's finding his council schedule a lot less taxing and apparently a lot more profitable then selling used cars. Fennell's list of Division 9 accomplishments reads like a packet of new printer paper.
|ADJACENT TO ORCHID NORTH - WHERE|
DOES THE REST OF THIS
|THIS IS ONE OF TWO HEDLEY-BUILT ROADS|
THAT MYSTERIOUSLY "DEAD END" INTO
THE GOLF COURSE. IT'S OBVIOUS WHY.
This has all been run through council over the holidays, and spun to be another "big job creator" for the Cairns community. Who cares about the longterm consequences?
And other sneaky developer trick - by convincing council to call Moore Road a "Major Collector", the developers avoided their financial responsibilities for upgrading the Cook Highway and intersection with Paradise Palms Boulevard. No matter that of course everyone will still be arriving at the main entrance - it's now someone else's multi-million dollar headache.
Without special protection as the Gold Coast has done, ALL the Cairns Golf Courses are open to the developers.
It's no wonder Daikyo doesn't want back into Cairns. They're not interested in the down-market trajectory that is now the hallmark of the Bob "Sleepy" Manning Unity Team council. And as for those pesky golfers? They can go to the Gold Coast. We're building tourism ghettos.