Cairns precinct firms in limbo!

Daniel Strudwick, Friday, May 4, 2012 © The Cairns Post

COMPANIES working on the Cairns Entertainment Precinct have suddenly had their contracts suspended without payment, as work halts on the troubled project until Bob Manning’s new council decides the way forward.

Council bosses this week told 22 firms – in expert fields such as architecture and engineering – to down tools on the project after it became clear Mr Manning’s Unity team would hold a majority in the council.

The suspended contracts are worth a combined $2.6 million to the businesses, which are now scrambling to find other work to fill the void in their books.

About 130 people were working on the project, and most of the companies are based in Cairns or were using local people for the work.

The Cairns office of civil engineering firm, Cardno, had dedicated half its staff to the project, and had expected the work to continue for at least another year.

“You avoid chasing other opportunities and contracts knowing that you have a certain amount of work, so to have this stop instantly, it has a big impact,” business unit manager Mark Perry said.

“A lot of our team has been really happy to work on it because it’s a Cairns job, it’s a signature project – it was definitely our biggest job.

“It’s a big blow for employment and construction activity.”

Stratford builder Richard Field said a contract to carry out investigative works at White’s Shed represented about 16 per cent of his company’s revenue.

The job was supposed to continue for another three months and employ 22 workers at its peak.

Mr Perry hopes the incoming Unity council seriously considers the existing project, because getting an alternative proposal shovel-ready could take years.

But mayor-elect Bob Manning said the chances of survival were grim for the $155 million waterfront precinct when the new council formally meets.

“We understand the disappointment of those people but the project is now gone,” Mr Manning told The Cairns Post.

But he said his council would work quickly to fast-track construction of an alternative facility and any other council projects that could help revive the local building sector.

Daniel Strudwick, Friday, May 4, 2012 © The Cairns Post


2 Comments on “Cairns precinct firms in limbo!

    • “THE Newman Government is considering a new performing arts venue for Brisbane.There have been concerns Queensland has missed out on major US and UK productions which have gone to Melbourne and Sydney because of the lack of high-quality and high-capacity venues in the Sunshine State.Arts Minister Ros Bates today will announce a government-funded Arts Queensland study into a new venue and where it might be located”.

      As long as it it not on the Cairns Waterfront of course. The not-so-silent majority has made sure of this exactly the same way as they rejected a brand new hospital years ago.

      Very odd indeed !

      As are the insinuatios that the proposed CEP is only for the rich. Your average major football or cricket game costs as much as going to a (rock) concert or the theater, so what’s the problem ?

      If it wasn’t for Tom Pyne standing his ground, the CRC would now be operating out of portable buildings instead of the current council chambers. Another project that was labeled ” a White Elephant’ by those who know everything better.

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