Cairns foreshore mudflats

Subject: Cairns foreshore mudflats
From: (Dr Richard Nowotny)
Date: Sat, 05 Jul 1997 13:57:15 +1000
The July edition of "The Bird Observer" has an appeal from Grahame Finnigan
of Cairns BOCA to all BOCA members to consider writing to the Premier of Qld
and the Mayor of Cairns to express concern about the renewed threat to the
Cairns foreshore mudflats.
If this threat is as real and potentially as imminent as Grahame believes it
to be it surely represents an issue of great importance to birdwatchers (and
other interested conservationists and sensible people generally) Australia
and world-wide.
What knowledge do birding-aussers have of the situation?  What is the level
of the threat?  How imminent is it?  How is it best addressed?  Should we be
seeking to mobilise international support through fellow birders and their
national chat-lines?
Does anyone know if either the Mayor of Cairns or the Premier of Qld can be
lobbied via email/The Net?
I have had a long-held view that the only real way to protect the Cairns
foreshore long-term is somehow to persuade the local Council, the local
traders and the local populace that what they have now is not an eyesore and
a liability but a fascinating, world-standard narural history treasure - in
its own way on a par with the reef, the rainforest, the tableland, etc.
This requires development of the foreshore to enhance the birdwatching and
natural history aspects of the area and to make it of interest and important
to ALL visitors (not just visiting birdwatchers), and then to market it for
what we all know it to be.  Boardwalks, viewing platforms, guided tours, an
adjacent theatrette showing relevant natural history films, active marketing
to the general tourist  - aren't these the only sorts of strategies that are
likely to alter the outlook of the many.
I fear that trying to maintain the status quo (ie we birdwatchers see a
wondrous spectacle while everyone else sees unsightly mud with a few birds
scattered about) is doomed to repeated onslaughts - one of which must
ultimately be successful.  We must look to changing what everyone else sees
- facilitating their capacity to see it as we do.  I can't see this
happening without active steps being taken to help them to see it
differently, and this requires some form of planned developments - but not
the ones the Council (and presumably many of the local traders and the
public) envisage
What do you think?  Is this a project of sufficient importance to justify
major endeavours by Birds Australia (cf Gluepot Station) and BOCA?

A concerned Richard Nowotny.   

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