Sunday, April 29, 2012

A word from former Mayor Val Schier

With the local council elections over and the Cairns Entertainment Precinct and its funding now appearing to be dead in the water, former Cairns Regional Council Mayor Val Schier  has contributed these thoughts to the Support for the Cairns Entertainment Facebook page:

Mayor Val Schier I have been asked to put into writing some things I said last night about the CEP at our celebration of my term in council. - what Mayor Manning is proposing is NOT a precinct; it's a cheaper theatre on another site far less spectacular than what was proposed - the CEP which my Council had ready to go for only $57M (and I say only because no-one objected when we spent $112M of ratepayers money upgrading 4 sewage treatment plants in my term of council) was a master-planned precinct that contained:
 1. An 1100 seat theatre.
 2. a huge open, covered plaza area, 5 metres above ground level (no storm surge issues) for people to take their families to watch cruise liners and big navy ships.
 3. a 500 seat amphitheatre with a screen for watching films, sports events etc.
 4. Whites shed refurbished to reveal the historical sugar bagging equipment high up in the ceiling, a reminder of our heritage with interpretive signage
 5. Huge spaces underneath the sugar bagging machinery that could have been used to generate income: an art gallery? artists and craftspeople working spaces? (not to compete with CBD traders)
 6. A community kitchen in the middle for events like celebrating the Samoan independence day or anniversary of Mabo Day.
 7. A link to the Convention Centre to enable more exhibition space for lucrative conventions that generate so much income into our community.
 8. a link with the Cruise liner terminal to make an extraordinary experience for visiting tourists
 9. a rehearsal space that could double as a theatre for smaller events.
ALL this AND no disruption to the working port and the cruise liners, navy ships, coastal shipping happening in front of it; AND still room for wharves 7 and 8 to double in size; AND still room for doubling navy expansion
 I don't grieve the loss of the mayoralty, but today I mourn the loss of the CEP for my granddaughter and the people of the Cairns region who will never have ths extraordinary waterfront development that would have put cranes over the sky initially, stimulated business confidence and attracted that much-needed private sector investment that Cairns so desperately needs. So much potential, now gone.

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