Put up and shut up?

Friday 20 January 2012

Put up and shut up?

Like the winds of a category five cyclone, debate over the Port Douglas cyclone shelter continues to rage.

Minister for Government Services, Building Industry and Information and Communication Technology, Simon Finn, has hit back at the LNP's candidate for Cook, David Kempton, who said his party would undertake a review of the cyclone shelter should they take government.

"I find it extraordinary that a local candidate makes comment about an issue and starts by saying 'I don't know what the community opinion is'.

"The situation is this; the site that the State Government has chosen is the highest elevation site of the three sites that have been proposed (Port Douglas State School, Old Port Road, and Sheraton Mirage property).

"The site at the school meets the criteria that has been set in terms of storm and tide surge. The other two sites don't and there is no way the State Government is going to build a cyclone shelter where the storm surge will potentially inundate it."

When asked whether residents of the region should have the right to push for the biggest and best facility possible, Mr Finn was unequivocal.

"What they're getting is the biggest and best facility possible in the one that we are building.

"We used James Cook University cyclone testing unit to provide us with the advice. We have to take the advice of experts to tell us what the criteria should be for a cyclone shelter."

He said that while he had been approached by alternative design advocates, Russell Jean and Steve Hull, there was nothing presented to him which would warrant further investigation.

"Russell and Steve have met with me and they've never presented me with anything other than an opinion. They've told me they think it should go somewhere else but unfortunately governments can't act on hearsay or opinion.

"I appreciate their enthusiasm for their community, I appreciate that everyone wants the biggest and the best. What the State Government must ensure we do is provide people with the best we can and the safest we can.

"The other two locations don't meet safety requirements, it's as simple as that."

Mr Finn said there was a "full round" of community consultations around the location of the cyclone shelter.

"The Cairns Regional Council submitted their proposals of where the cyclone shelter should be. The submission did not include either of these sites (Old Port Road or the Sheraton Mirage)."

Mr Finn said any move by the LNP to review the location and design would cause major disruptions to successful tenderer, Northbuild, and in turn would significantly increase the cost to the State.

At the time of reporting a poll asking readers their preferred location for the Port Douglas cyclone shelter showed opinion divided with 45% of people in favour of the school site and 50% in favour of Old Port Road, while 5% of people didn't seem to care.

It's not too late to vote. Go to our home page and have your say. 

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