CAIRNS ENTERTAINMENT PRECINCT ‘FACTS, FIGURES AND ANSWERS’.
Location: The precinct will be built on the site that sits close to the CBD waterfront sharing the space with White’s Shed. The site is adjacent to the Cityport Cruise Ship Terminal (in between Wharf Street and Trinity Inlet). The land can not be used for industrial port purposes.
Who owns the land? The land is being leased by Ports North to Cairns Regional Council for a ‘peppercorn’ or nominal rent for 99 years. Ports North have confirmed the land will never be used for port purposes.
When will building work finally commence and how long will it take to complete? Construction on site will commence after the wet season in 2012. The project is to be completed in 2015.
But on the radio, Mal from Mooroobool says it will be a White Elephant! Cairns today has the population to support the Precinct, particularly considering the regional population, adjoining local government areas and the high number of tourist visitors.
Can’t Council spend the money on roads? State and Commonwealth funding is allocated specifically for the Precinct and cannot be diverted elsewhere. If not used for the Precinct, it will be lost to the region.
Won’t my rates have to go up? No increases in rates to support the Cairns Entertainment Precinct have been included. At this stage, Council’s contribution is proposed to be met from Property Reserve funds (approximately $11 million); the sale of the Hartley Street site and Civic Theatre site (approximately $16 million); plus loan borrowings (approximately $33 million).
How many jobs will be created? Up to 1000 construction jobs over two years.
What are the other Other Economic Benefits: The creative industries are one of Cairns’ major industries – although the fact isn’t well known. In 2008, with a turnover of $300 million, the Far North’s creative industries were worth more than the local fishing industry and approaching that of the sugar industry. About 6000 people were involved in some form of income-earning activity; full-time equivalent employees numbered approximately 3000. The Precinct will further enhance this major industry.
Who Can Use It? Everyone. The Precinct is being specifically designed to be available to everyone who lives in or visits Cairns. It will be open to school groups; youth groups; dance, music and drama schools; professional regional touring groups and individuals; sporting organisations; business and convention organisers; as well as residents of the Cairns region. It will be used for a wide range of community events including artistic, popular music and dance and school speech nights,
Can a new Mayor stop it? No. Like the Esplanade development before the 2000 poll, Candidates can pretend they will stop it (to get votes), but the agreement to proceed is binding on all future Councils.
At community consultations held in June, CA-Cox Rayner Architects unveiled two concept designs for the proposed Cairns Entertainment Precinct. The ‘Architectural Rainforest’ and the ‘Layered Roofscape’ concepts were presented to community participants.
The sketches included two potential versions of the building, both featuring a public plaza, foyer, provision for flood immunity and storm surge resistance, car parking, stores, unimpeded views over the Inlet and the ability to capture breezes.
Via a workshop process the ‘Architectural Rainforest’ received almost unanimous support as being the preferred concept design.
CA-Cox Rayner Architects will use the feedback gained and present another series of community consultations at a date to be confirmed. The consultations will workshop the more elaborated design concepts.
The master plan also presented two possible options for the use of historic ‘White’s Shed’.
One highlighted the shed as an ‘entry point’ for the precinct and the other as a stand alone feature with community spaces between the shed and precinct area.
- Independent research in 2010 found that 86% of people are in favour of new performing arts facilities for Cairns.
- Cairns Regional Council has wanted a site for a new Regional Performing Arts Centre since 1994.
- Public comment during June and July allows local residents and stakeholder groups to offer constructive feedback on the designs.
- The Entertainment Precinct invests in our local economy.
Majority want Cultural Precinct
With the rise of the CAVE (Citizens against Virtually Everything) People it is easy to be be bullied into letting the noisy minority dictate decision making.
In light of this, it was interesting to see the results in the Cairns Posts ‘Great Northern Survey’:
It is good news in that Cairns Regional Council is already heading in the direction most people want them to go.
However, there is much scope to further increase support for the Cultural Precinct, as people get to have their say on the various designs that will eventually come forward (tick – see above).