By Margaret Moorhouse, Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook
Williams Corporation and Port Hinchinbrook Services are both in liquidation. During its interaction with the proponents of the intended Deed of Company Arrangement (DoCA), the Alliance to Save Hinchinbroook Inc (ASH) corresponded with the Administrators just as they became the Liquidators. Suffice to say that we do not hold the same confidence in liquidators as does the Mayor of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council (Innisfail Advocate 28 Sep 2013).
Our primary concern was the public interest: the natural environment and social justice. Neither of these seems to figure highly if at all in the dollar-drive calculations of liquidators, where the aim is to raise as much money as possible from asset sales for the creditors, one of whom is Ben Williams himself, sole director of the defunct development company. We are also concerned as to what asset-associated information might or might not be available to potential buyers/investors.
The block owners (most, though not all appear to have bought speculatively) are generally referred to as “the residents”. In a long-winded speech, the Mayor was published to the effect that new undisclosed arrangements to cater for “Port Hinchinbrook” residents would not be a burden to the shire; and if there were costs to the shire, these would be recouped (presumably as rates), he said, from the residents thus benefited.
ASH has yet to be convinced. Way back in 1994, and in the following years, Friends of Hinchinbrook and then ASH published warning after warning. An ASH flier 2002 warned of the crooked processes that went into this development, and the likely consequences for the environment and the ratepayers.
No resolution for the marina and canal estate dredging, probably the biggest environmental problem, has yet come to light. Residents may well cling to their dreams, or their hopes of recouping their over-sized investment, beyond all reason. Retaining their land values depends largely on the canal estate/marina component of the development, despite the fact that they have their own documentation describing dredging to land as prohibitively costly. Here is the risk: another application for sea-dumping – the last refused in 2009.