Cairns mayoral candidate Bob Manning vows to move precinctPrecious land: Cairns mayoral candidate Bob Manning is keen to keep port land.
Mr Manning and his team of council candidates have pledged to move the proposed complex to another site, scrap any facilities not related to the performing arts, and scale back the project’s size and cost. But the group concedes it could have trouble dismantling the current $155 million proposal if the cost of tearing up existing contracts and funding deeds proves too dear.
Despite assurances from Ports North that the current precinct site is "entirely compatible" with its master plan and strategic plan, Mr Manning insists the region cannot afford to give up port land to non-marine ventures. "We will do everything we can to protect that port – that is the most crucial issue," Mr Manning said yesterday.
Mr Manning's Unity 2012 team says it will consider other sites for construction such as the existing Civic Theatre, Munro Martin Park, the Ports North car park site or Hartley St opposite William McCormack Place. And they said a budget of about $85-90 million was "fair".
According to Unity's action plan released yesterday, a council led by Mr Manning would immediately scrutinise the current council's dealings to ensure all contracts comply with relevant legislation. Mr Manning said if the $155 million precinct was "contractually bound up" by the works already under way, he would have no choice but to proceed with the existing proposal.
Contracts already signed include funding deeds with the State and Federal governments worth $97.3 million.And the contract for project management rights could also be signed with a construction company before the April 28 local government elections. But Mr Manning said the next council should put forward a case to governments to spare the port land by building the precinct elsewhere."That story has not been taken forwardly strongly," he said.
______________ | ______________