Information for Investors
Hazards and Discomforts
We have provided a brief description of natural hazards likely to affect the False Cape site.† Most of these hazards are issues that all north Queenslanders living in isolated areas must manage or tolerate as part of living in the humid tropics away from population centres.† However, it is important that they be noted, so the potential property investors can prepare and plan for their management.
Aerial view of the False Cape site.
The steepness of the site, and the cliffs overhanging much of the "Detached Dwelling" area, are obvious in this picture.
The woodlands around False Cape burn on a regular basis.† The dry season of 2005 saw bushfires on the steep hillslopes of the property.
Bushfires are a natural and regularly occurring part of the Australian environment.† The tropical woodlands of northern Australia are subject to different fire regimes to that of the temperate and sub-tropical south.† For example, in the East Trinity/Yarrabah area, they are an almost annual event in the dry season.† In the absence of fire, a dense undergrowth rapidly takes over, changing the characteristics of the woodland ecosystems.
The proponentís Bushfire Hazard Report (C&B Group, 2004) identifies the steep, north-facing woodlands of the development area as being of medium to high bushfire hazard.† Disturbance of hillside areas associated with construction works will provide ideal conditions for weed invasion.† Of most concern, these weeds will include Guinea Gras and Molasses Grass, two tall, dense growing grass species that support hot, fast-moving fires in the dry season.† Such changes are evident around Cairns wherever the ecology of steep hillsides has been altered by hillslope developments.
In responding to publicly stated concerns regarding bushfires, HLA-Envirosciences has suggested that "Landowners and hotel owners would be responsible for keeping an ongoing review of bushfire risk including ensuring that garden waste and refuse is not dumped in uncleared areas ".
Most of the proposed residential development is on land steeper than 1:3, which is the cut-off point for residential development is the Cairns Planning Scheme.† In many places, the slope of allotments is approximately 1:2 (estimated from Figure 2.2, HLA-Envirorosciences 2004).† On natural ground surfaces as steep at this, walking is difficult as it is a approximately this slope that it becomes easy to slip on both wet and dry soils. Providing access to lots that are above the road can be very difficult in these situations as the road will be at the bottom of a cutting and the drive way will have to climb out of the cutting as well as climb the hill. A 4WD become necessary as 2WDís will not safely climb the steepest driveways, particularly if the drive has a bend as bends cause wheel spin or the drive becomes wet or slimy (typical for shaded aged concrete and pavers). It is for reasons such as this that the Cairns planning scheme has an upper limit of 1:3 for developments.
Future residents would find yard maintenance difficult and would soon attempt to transform their land to reduce the difficulty of maintenance, probably by terracing or paving their land. Un-maintained land is likely to rapidly develop into a dense sward of guinea grass or molasses grass, which would create a severe fire danger.† Undeveloped land, perhaps owned by non-local investors and which is not maintained is likely to be significant fire risk to developed houses.