The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland report sent to regional councillors highlights the dangers of the precinct being built alongside a working port, including the potential for an explosion from warships or ammonium nitrate chemicals.
However, last night Cairns Mayor Val Schier lashed out at opponents of the precinct, accusing them of running a scare campaign. She told The Cairns Post that some councillors and community members were running a "fear and emotion" campaign in a belated attempt to stop the development.
The report prepared by Cummings Economics says the precinct was within 200m of container yards and wharves over which explosives are likely to be handled or be on board ships and within the usual "overpressure" zones. The report also raises concerns about dangerous goods, fertilisers, fuel storage, smell nuisances and other hazards.
As well, there are economic concerns with the seaport operations having "a very significant impact on the regional economy many times greater than the economic impact of the proposed new theatre". "It is a major deficiency that councillors in their decision-making on this question appear not to have already been presented with comprehensive analysis of potential hazards and risks... "Council has a duty of care to theatre users over the coming decades and to ratepayers that it invests in a facility that is not burdened by a range of safety and ambience complications that come from being located next to an operating port," the report said.
Chamber chairman Brett Moller said the report had been compiled for councillors so that "impacting issues should be brought to the table so that they can be considered, addressed and dealt with in the decision-making process." Cr Schier said the issue would be discussed at a March 12 workshop.
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Comment: Mayor Val Schier.
If visitors to the CEP are going to be in danger then the cruise liner passengers will be in worse danger as will the Convention Centre attendees!! Ports North currently manages risks and ALL the issues raised in the report have been identified and are being analysed and mitigated by the project team.
Comment : Annette Sheppard ( Candidate Division 6 )
Val, These are issues I have brought up previously, as have others. If you look at the maps you will see that the CEP falls well within the radius from the epicentre, the cruise terminal does not, and a small section of the convention centre is also affected. However, this measurement is taken from Wharf 7 - 8. Should an explosion occur at Wharf 4 - 5 - 6, then the CEP would be almost at ground zero and the cruise ship terminal and the convention centre would be well within the blast radius.
Exactly how do you mitigate in these circumstances? Would you propose to have bomb proof walls and glass? Your comments in minimising this risk are seriously flawed and either ignorant or misleading. Anyone who was here at the time of the gasworks explosion will know just how destructive industrial explosions can be. Maybe you also need to investigate exactly what hazardous cargoes are moved within the vicinity of the proposed CEP. It just shows that the State Government has been recalcitrant in its duty of care in not making consideration of these issues in their decision to locate the cruise terminal and the convention centre in this area.
They have further compounded the problem by offering this site for the CEP. The fact is that the site is unsaleable and it was their way of offloading responsibility on to the Local Government. In the risk analysis have you calculated the cost of the insurance, both public liability and property?
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