Cairns Entertainment Precinct: DA Lodged, On Budget, History and White’s Shed Apprenticeship.


The Wharf Street drop off area.

Cairns Regional Council has lodged the Development Application (DA) for the Cairns Entertainment Precinct with Ports North.

The 1900-page application provides comprehensive detail of the Precinct.

Lodgement of the Development Application with Ports North by 31 March 2012 satisfies the first key milestone of the Commonwealth Funding Agreement and triggers the first substantial payment.

Cairns Regional Council CEO Lyn Russell said the Development Application had been a massive project in itself.

“The Development Application is the culmination of years of work by expert staff and consultants and pulls together an enormous amount of detail about the Precinct,” Ms Russell said.

“The DA offers an appreciation for the scale of this development and the degree of specialisation needed to build a state-of-the-art entertainment facility.

“It’s now up to Ports North to assess the application and provide final approval.”

History in the Making

Photograph courtesy of Ports North.

White’s Shed is an important part of Cairns history.

It may not look like much from the outside at the moment, but the original internal timber structure built in 1923 is spectacular.

Thirteen transverse timber frames support the roof and are linked by a ridge beam, purlins and girts.

There is the remains of an electrical conveyor system built into the roof of the shed that was used to stack up to 80 tons of bagged of sugar an hour.

The original building is 63 metres long and 22 metres wide and was capable of storing 6000 to 7500 tons of sugar.

The usefulness of the shed declined in the 1950s and was no longer in operation when the bulk sugar terminal was established in Portsmith in 1964.

The shed is a rare reminder of parts of Queensland’s cultural heritage as surviving wharf sheds disappear from Australia’s coastal cities.

White’s Shed with its remaining sugar bag handling equipment is the only example of this type of structure still in existence in Australia.

It’s hoped the remains of the sugar bag handling equipment will contribute to a heightened understanding of Queensland’s history because all records of how the system was used have disappeared.

The shed will be restored as part of the Cairns Entertainment Precinct project and become a part of Cairns heritage that everyone can enjoy.

Architectural impressions of White’s Shed refurbishment.

Courtesy CACOXRayner.

New Apprentice for White’s Shed Work

Richard Field, new apprentice Nolan Badger and site manager Tony Cawte.

A $351,000 contract for Investigative Works on White’s Shed has given a school leaver a new future.

Eighteen year old Nolan Badger was a standout candidate from a field of applicants to start a new career as an apprentice carpenter working on White’s Shed.

Richard Field Constructions was awarded the contract in February and began interviewing for a new apprentice almost immediately.

Builder Richard Field says all the candidates for the new apprenticeship were put through a rigorous interview process and Nolan was the clear leader in the group.

Nolan expects it will be very exciting to start his new career on a Heritage Listed building and is looking forward to discovering the history he expects is concealed beneath the floorboards.

The contract is supporting 36 local jobs.

On Budget and On Target

The Cairns Entertainment Precinct is now fully funded, bringing almost $100 million of external funding directly to the region.

Formal funding agreements have been signed with the Federal and State Governments and the site lease has been executed .

The Queensland Government is contributing $57.3 million to the project, the Federal Government $40 million and the Cairns Regional Council the remaining $57.3 million.

The State Government is providing the site shown in the photograph for a peppercorn rent.

Investigative works have begun on White’s Shed, the tender for a Managing Contractor is almost complete, the Development Application has been lodged and detailed designs are well advanced.

Early works are expected to begin on site in July 2012 with completion due in 2015.

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