Great outcome for Jack Barnes boardwalk

Cairns Deputy Mayor Terry James has welcomed a plan that will allow for the retention and renewal of the Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk.

Located on Cairns Airport Pty Ltd controlled land, the boardwalk was closed to the public in April 2019 after an independent engineer’s assessment determined the structure was unsafe and in need of critical repair.

Following a consultant’s feasibility study assessing options for the boardwalk’s future, Council advised the Cairns Airport Pty Ltd that as of 31 December 2021, it would cease its holding clause over site.

Under the provisions of the licenced agreement, Council was obligated to undertake remediation works to remove the carpark on Airport Avenue to return it to a natural state, and to remove the top decking of the boardwalk structure.

It was estimated the remediation works would cost $460,000 – those funds now to be used as part of the Cairns Airport plan to renew the boardwalk and make it available for academic and indigenous access to the mangrove habitat.

“This is a wonderful outcome for the community and key stakeholders that will allow for the retention of this boardwalk, which was opened in 1988 to commemorate the Queensland Bicentennial and honours the legacy of a pioneering jellyfish researcher,” Cr James said.

“Both Council and the Cairns Airport were keen to find the best possible outcome, and I would like to acknowledge the role Cairns Airport CEO Richard Barker, who only took up the position in December last year, in helping achieve this great result.

“Notably, this site is also significant to the First Peoples as well as to the scientific and research community and provides a unique mangrove experience.”

The boardwalk was named in honour of Dr Jack Barnes (1922-1985), whose research on jellyfish helped pioneer early safety procedures adopted by surf lifesavers to prevent stings.

He is also accredited with having discovered that a thumbnail-sized and almost invisible four-tentacled jellyfish could cause Irukandji syndrome.

It is reported, that to prove the jellyfish was the cause of the syndrome, Dr Barnes captured one and deliberately stung himself, and was later rushed to the Cairns Base Hospital with Irukandji syndrome.

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