We've been short-changed on City Place for years
Short-changed: Great plans to develop City Place have come to nought, says Ochre Restaurant and Catering chef director Craig Squire.
OPINION: MANY views and opinions on what should happen to the Cairns central business district, particularly City Place, have been given by a wide cross-section of the city's community.
These views are various and all have legitimate pros and cons. There are so many differing opinions.
What I can put forward is the disappointment and disillusionment at where we are today, so many years have passed, so many studies, consultancies, focus groups and still nothing is on the table and there is no grand vision.
I recall attending a focus group initiated shortly after the previous council came to office.
Tabled were some great plans including the Shields St pedestrian boulevard.
Designs were tabled and it was music to my ears.
Whatever happened to this work? Was it another waste of time and money?
I am disappointed that our city has all but lost nearly $150 million in funding that we long ago earned and deserved.
This funding was promised in the past and, if not for political point scoring, we could have construction under way on both the entertainment precinct and City Place/Shields and Grafton streets upgrades.
I am disappointed that the entertainment precinct wasn't sold to the public for its wider benefits, namely the increasing of capacity to host larger conferences.
Not once did I read in the media that the new centre could be used for conference lectures and meetings, freeing up space in the convention centre for expos, meetings and functions.
This teamed with the cruise liner terminal could have projected Cairns forward in our best yield tourism market, one which is profitable and sustainable.
But, unfortunately, the naysayers won the day.
I am also disappointed that I have not heard one positive proposition from our new mayor, council, and very little from the State Government.
At election time it was all about positive change but that has turned to the negative, and the hamstrung member for Cairns Gavin King is trying to palm us off with $3 million to open up City Place to buses.
Three million is not only a slap in the face, it is not enough.
It will be a Band-Aid measure at best and there goes my dream of a world-class boulevard linking the Esplanade to Cairns Central.
We need leaders with vision, we need our past dues realised.
Cairns has been short-changed for years.
As a major export income earner and town built and sustained by small to medium private enterprise, we deserve better.
With talk about the G20 and the eyes of the world on our city, we should have improvements.
But let me say the eyes of the world are always on Cairns, we are a major international tourism destination and under constant scrutiny.
My view is we need decent funding with a long term vision, both of which appear to be severely lacking once again.
Craig Squire is the chef director of Ochre Restaurant and Catering in Shield St.