CBD upgrade proposal 'too risky' for council to fund

Uncertainty over future finances caused by the coronavirus pandemic and zero appetite for risk are among the reasons an Abbott St upgrade proposal is unlikely to go ahead.

CBD landlord Frank Gasparin recently unveiled his vision for a revitalised section of Abbott St between Spence and Wharf Sts, including a giant fountain, street beautification and more kerbside dining.

Gasparin and other supporters hoped Cairns Regional Council would get behind the idea and fund it in the 2020-21 Budget, set to be released on Wednesday.

But Mayor Bob Manning told Tropic Now that council would need more than "pretty pictures" to seriously consider the concept.

Besides a lack of detail - including how the proponents arrived at a $2.5 million costing for the project - Cr Manning said COVID-19 continued to create uncertainty and concern to local governments across the state.

"It is good to see the private sector putting forward these ideas, we don't want to dampen that enthusiasm, but no-one has an appetite for risk at this time and we need to be very cautious about our finances going forward," he said.

"We have brought forward work on the Esplanade dining precinct, so that's going ahead, and when we release our budget it will feature the biggest capital works budget council has ever delivered.

"We also need more than pretty pictures and a video before we can commit to a project like this."

Division 5 councillor Amy Eden, who supports the general concept of the upgrade, said she would continue "addressing the city master plan and consulting with community".

Scroll down to watch the fly-through video of the Abbott St proposal

A fly-through video of the concept, funded by Mr Gasparin and produced by LA3 Landscape Architects, has attracted thousands of views on the Tropic Now YouTube channel. Watch it below.