Impacts of the Development
Impacts on Heritage Values
False Cape World War II Gun Emplacements
The False Cape site adjoins and will result in significant building around a World War II gun emplacement. This will significantly degrade the heritage value of the site. There are also real issues about the access to the site, as roads being built in the development will be private roads rather than public. Some “Detached Dwelling” blocks that are not yet assigned for development, but form part of the site (superlots 907 and 908), also sit at the back of the heritage area.
Closer examination of the proposed subdivision plans reveal development of these superlots will directly impact on part of the heritage site described as “Rock Landing Place”, on the western side of False Cape.
World Heritage and the Cairns Environment
The Reef Cove Resort site has significant cultural meaning to the Cairns community and all who visit it, including domestic and international visitors. Cairns is the main city in a region which prides itself on lying between the Wet Tropics World Heritage area and the Great Barrier Reef world Heritage area. Both of these World Heritage areas recognise the significance of the forested surrounds of Cairns, and its natural aesthetic beauty.
While Cairns itself is obviously an urban environment, at the moment it contains important mountain backdrops (Figure 15). Many of these are facing significant incursions through the spread of urban development in Cairns. At present, False Cape has been retained as an amazing green mountainous backdrop to Cairns, mainly because of its isolation, poor transport links and mountainous terrain. If development occurred at False Cape, it would ruin the aesthetic of the natural mountain backdrop, eroding the visual appeal of Cairns’ setting. The development would be visible from almost all vantage points around the city, including the Northern Beaches and Esplanade area. It would also significantly impact on the experience for visitors to southern reefs, as boats departing Cairns skirt past the mountainous and intact landscapes of False Cape on their journey.
Without its natural vistas, of which False Cape forms such an important part – the very essence of what visitors come to Cairns to see – the beautiful natural setting of Cairns will be significantly affected. Already Cairns is suffering from serious development pressures, which in some cases are not being appropriately managed and will consequently have long-term negative impacts.
Finally, the development of False Cape would also result in significant pressure to urbanise the whole surrounding area of East Trinity, which has been protected from any large-cale development at this stage to preserve this very backdrop to Cairns.