Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Aquis EIS: slapdash and unprofessional

Question? Why is 'Chapter 13 Economic' of the Aquis EIS talking about the benefits of 2 x 2,500 theatres while 'Chapter 4 Project Description' says this has been downgraded to 2 x 600 which is also what has been reported?

Chapter 4:
Initial: 2 x 2500 seat theatres. Current: 2 x 600 seat theatres. Scale reduced.

The 600 seat theatres will be used as an Entertainment component but, with appropriate programming, it can also be made available as an additional plenary space to support major conferences.

Chapter 13:
13.3.8 Theatres
A theatre for night time entertainment is a common part of large integrated resort development.
The Aquis Resort will have 7500 hotel rooms and accommodate 12 000 at peak occupancy. The two...
2 500 seat theatres would be in scale to provide nightly entertainment plus contribute to local needs.
Cairns city has an active residential cultural life that supports one main and a number of smaller
theatre venues. Cairns Civic Theatre has a current seat capacity of 669.
The Cairns Convention Centre can take larger audiences but it is not set up as a theatre. Larger open
air concerts have been occasionally held at Fogarty Park, the Cairns Showgrounds, and Cairns
Botanic Gardens.
The current Civic Centre Theatre was built and opened in 1974 when Cairns’ urban population was
approximately 50 000 which reflects about one-third the current size of Cairns. It is estimated to be
subsidised by ratepayers by about $600 000 a year excluding depreciation.
The Council has been developing plans over the past decade for establishment of an upgraded
Performing Arts Centre including a theatre capacity of about 1 200 and expanded stage and back of
stage facilities to cater for larger touring productions. Even then, there would be concerts and
productions that this scale of theatre could not accommodate. The city is struggling to find the capital
funds for this development and there have been issues about location.
Two 2 500 seat facilities would give the city venues to take large touring stage productions and very
large concerts.
This is not intended as a comment on theatre requirements for Cairns at all and should one think I am being too pedantic, Chapter 4 also gives three (3) entirely separate numbers for the floor area of the convention facility, separated by some magnitude! All that within just a few minutes browsing? This from an outfit that couldn't even register the correct name: Gateway to the Greta Barrier Reef
There is no doubt in my mind that Aquis will be approved. I make no judgement on the merit of the proposal. However the EIS document itself as presented is slapdash, unprofessional, and incompetently drafted.

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