Tuesday 13 December 2011

Crucial vote on Cairns Entertainment Precinct tomorrow

Daniel Strudwick
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
© The Cairns Post

Crucial vote: A divided Cairns Regional Council will cast a make-or-break vote on the entertainment precinct at the last meeting of the year tomorrow. Photo: Cr Linda Cooper. She is expected to support the Precinct

The Cairns Chamber of Commerce has vowed to keep lobbying the State and Federal governments for more entertainment precinct funding, reaffirming the chamber's support for the project ahead of tomorrow's critical council vote.

In an email to its 600 members yesterday, chamber president Anthony Mirotsos acknowledged the financial risks but said "we have done our homework on the project and we support it".

A divided Cairns Regional Council will cast a make-or-break vote at the last meeting of the year tomorrow, with Mayor Val Schier declaring "crunch time" for the portside development. Councillors yesterday were given a 10-year financial outlook on how the $155 million precinct would affect the council’s ability to fund other infrastructure projects. Those figures will be available to the public tomorrow when councillors meet at the Spence St chambers.

Of the six councillors who have voted to halt progress on precinct planning during recent months, only one needs to change their vote for the project to be given a lifeline. If the project is shelved at the meeting, the region will hand back $97.3 million of state and federal money pledged to the precinct. "I’m not contemplating that we would give back nearly $100 million – it’s not within the realms of my comprehension," the mayor said yesterday. "It’s not about saying we need more information, it’s not about putting the precinct on a different location – it’s time to make a decision."

Mr Mirotsos said the precinct’s benefit to the city outweighed the potential risks. "A critical and worthwhile project deserves united and broad-based non-political community support," his letter to chamber members stated. He said the chamber would pursue the State and Federal governments for "additional substantial funding" to help relieve any burden on ratepayers. The offer of federal money expires in July and Premier Anna Bligh has confirmed state funds will be withdrawn if the council votes against the project tomorrow.

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  1. We just need one more Councillor to have confidence in our future, to have confidence in our ability to attract global prestigious conventions like a CHOGM, confidence in our ability to attract big name stars and shows, confidence in our performing artists and confidence in our culture, history and our paleontology and science discoveries, and confidence in most of all, ourselves.

  2. If I could say something to Linda Cooper, I would say..."Take the money and run with it!" Never mind which political party is giving it out, just say, "Coo, ta very much!" and GRAB! Townsville and the Sunshine Coast are sitting there with their hands out, waiting for the vote tomorrow. We won't see this sort of money again, not for a long, long time, regardless of which political party wins office next years. Grab it with both hands Linda,and work out any fears you might have later.


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