Shangri-La Hotel scraps plans for performing arts theatre in Cairns
THE Shangri-La Hotel has thrown out plans for a performing arts theatre on its waterfront land in the Cairns CBD because there was no political will to get the project built.
The Cairns Post revealed in August the luxury hotel had been planning a performing arts centre, believed to be worth about $60 million, that could have delivered a vital piece of community infrastructure for Cairns after the axing of the entertainment precinct.
But the idea hinged on governments expressing an interest in a public/private venture, which has failed to materialise.
"In private enterprise, if we have an idea and the two sides don't see the benefit and the will to move on it, we can't waste time,'' general manager George Wee said.
But he told The Cairns Post that the hotel and adjacent Pier shopping centre were still flagged for expansions, which were in the works.
"It hasn't been finalised, but it will be a drawcard that gets people to the Pier,'' Mr Wee said.
Cairns MP Gavin King described the proposal as "ideal'' in August, and yesterday lamented it wasn't explored by Cairns Regional Council and Federal Government.
"In this economic climate, we need to investigate and explore all opportunities,'' Mr King said.
"The private sector is what's going to lead us out of the slump that we've been in and we need to grab these opportunities with both hands.
"That's not to say it was the only option or the perfect option, but it's disappointing that it wasn't explored.''
He said the council would need to come up with "a very special proposal'' to attract private-sector interest to its alternative vision for a performing arts complex opposite the Cairns Convention Centre.
The council is expecting the results of a feasibility study by the end of February. It is examining the possibility of building a smaller and cheaper alternative to the grand $155 million entertainment precinct.
"From a state (government) perspective, we're keen to see the results of a feasibility study to see where we can get involved to get it done,'' Mr King said.
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No deal: The Shangri-La Hotel in Cairns has thrown out plans for a performing arts theatre on its waterfront land in the Cairns CBD because there was no political will to get the project built.