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  • Renee Cluff

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    Mangrove walk and above-water platforms included in Cairns City Masterplan

    Plans for a new mangrove boardwalk at the northern end of the Cairns Esplanade have been unveiled as part of Cairns Regional Council’s City Centre Masterplan.

    Councillors today voted to adopt the guiding document, which sets out five key public space project opportunities.

    They include the Cairns Gallery Precinct, Florence Street, City Streets, the Esplanade Dining Precinct and the Esplanade Parklands.

    The nature walk was suggested during a period of community consultation last year and an opportunity is also available for a commercial operation in the area, such as a café or kiosk.

    Esplanade viewing platforms will also be dotted along the boardwalk.

    General Manager of Planning and Environment, Kelly Reaston, said the full plan is now available on the Council’s website. 

    “The masterplan has gone live and there’s some great material on there,” she said.

    “There’s an e-book and a short video that runs through the proposed ideas that have come up as a result of our consultation with the community.”

    Brett Olds was one of nine of the ten councillors to vote to adopt the plan.

    “A lot of people are interested in what’s going on in the CBD and you need to have a plan, so let’s get after it,” he said.

    Esplanade closure unheeded

    Not included in the plan, is the closure of the southern end of the Cairns Esplanade to traffic at night time as part of the Entertainment and Dining Precinct.

    That’s despite calls from Crystalbrook Collection and the Cairns Chamber of Commerce for the Council to do so.

    The document says while there will be additional space for dining and pedestrians at the southern end of the Esplanade, the road will remain open to one-way traffic.

    It does, however, allow for a temporary closure of the road to create an event space, when needed.

    Transport the only sticking point

    The only Councillor to vote against the masterplan was Richie Bates, whose division five takes in the CBD.

    He told today’s general meeting he was concerned the document lacks specifics on transport links to get people into the city in the first place.

    “While there are great elements in there, the missing element is really about transport and access to the CBD,” he said.

    "I know there’s some commentary in this masterplan, some conceptual stuff about transport, but I don’t think it goes anywhere near to where we need to be to be.

    “There should be more than warm and fluffy statements about something called the metro, whatever that might be.”

    However, he didn’t have the support of fellow Councillors.

    “We had actually quite an extensive workshop that went through a whole review of a loop bus system, including its viability, its financial set-up, it’s ongoing operational costs and what the uptake would be given other elements of bus services,” said Cr Linda Cooper.

    “At the moment it’s not sustainable but I will believe it will be in the future and this policy document and its statements leave that wide open to be investigated,” added Cr Cathy Zeiger.