Council endorses more coronavirus support measures

Council has endorsed a third series of measures to assist businesses and the community respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Following initiatives announced 12 February and 20 March, today’s support measures include the fast tracking of projects for the Cairns CBD and the waiving of rental fees for business leasing Council facilities.

Mayor Bob Manning said Council was continuing to find ways to support the community at this challenging time.

“Businesses in Cairns are doing it extremely tough right now,” Cr Manning said. “Rather than being a busy time for us with visitors bustling along our footpaths and filling our shops, our city is almost completely devoid of activity.

“The initiatives Council has endorsed today will help to keep businesses open today, and provide a foundation for when we come out the other side of this crisis.”

City projects fast tracked

Erosion control along the Cairns Esplanade and renewal of the Lagoon pool plaza are among a number of significant CBD projects to be brought forward to reduce impacts on businesses once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

The projects were selected based on the estimated time for planning, design, consultation, procurement of materials and contractors, and delivery within a six month timeframe.

Cr Manning said that while the pandemic was causing unprecedented disruption, restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus did provide an opportunity for Council to bring forward some projects in the city.

“Although there is no real certainty of when the current health restrictions will be eased or lifted, Council has looked at projects that could be substantially completed within a six month period,” he said.

“These are projects that would normally create significant disturbances for traders and their patrons, and we know that businesses are not going to want disruptions to their trade once restrictions are lifted.”

Projects to be fast tracked include:

  • The building of a rock wall minimise erosion on the Esplanade
  • Renewal of the plaza area between the Lagoon and the Esplanade
  • Renewal of footpaths on Abbott, Grafton and McLeod streets
  • Replacement of commercial water metres and water main
  • Road rehabilitation and asphalt overlays

The projects will also provide direct benefits to the Cairns economy with opportunities for local contractors to deliver elements of the accelerated works.

There was consideration given to bringing forward the Esplanade Dining Precinct renewal, but as the concept design has not been approved and consultation was not at an advanced stage, it was decided the project could not be commenced in the short-term.

Council waives rental fees

Council will waive rental payments for lessees of Council owned and/or managed facilities negatively impacted by the coronavirus.

Last month, Council moved to assist restaurant and cafe lessees with a 50 per cent reduction in rental payments.

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