Impacts of the Development
Impacts on Visual Amenity
This proposed project is the single most serious threat to the environment character of Cairns. In our opinion, the development is one of the most environmentally destructive and visually intrusive proposals that we have ever seen. Reading Cairns City Council records reveals that council’s internal advisors also have very strong reservations about this project. In approving the development proposal, many of their recommendations were altered or deleted by Council. Many standard environmental and risk management safeguards appear to have been removed to allow this project to be proceed.
The proposed Reef Cove project would create the first large scale hillslope development on the eastern side of Trinity Inlet. This development will be highly visible from most parts of Cairns that have sea views including the Cairns Beaches, the Cairns Esplanade and most of Cairns’ elevated properties. Passengers on tourist vessels which ply the waters close to the Cape will see this development at very close range. Approximately 1.5 km of coastline will be converted from pristine forest into a very dense urban landscape. The alteration will extend from the very edge of the sea, to around 50 m above sea level at the tops of buildings.
The Cairns City Council, in assessing various applications for reconfiguring the lot sizes in the development has indicated that “The applicant has not yet demonstrated that the proposed development can be undertaken with minimal impact on the scenic quality of the site as detailed engineering design is yet to be undertaken.”
The allotment layout as proposed would result in the future buildings appearing as a large mass, stretching along the full perimeter of the foreshore. Consistent with such development is the removal of trees, rock outcrops and boulders, which would present a significantly different appearance to that which is seen today. Such development would be inconsistent with existing development along the eastern foreshore of Trinity Inlet and existing developments at Second Beach and nearby areas.
Council planners note “Under different circumstances and without the historic approval the application would have had to been either substantially modified or refused. However as Council is dealing with an historic rezoning approval the best it can endeavour to do is impose a series of conditions that go someway to achieving some of the current intents or outcomes.”
As many of the Council’s officers conditions have been overturned or ignored in the final negotiated decision, we do not believe the currently imposed conditions will be sufficient to avoid impacts on scenic quality.