Ghostly drone vision reveals city in lockdown

A new ird's-eye photo series has revealed with stunning clarity this city's drastic transformation since coronavirus lockdown measures were enforced.

The eerie drone images show empty Cairns suburban streets, pools devoid of swimmers and public playgrounds and exercise equipment going unused for months on end.

Public parks, like this one at Trinity Beach, remain off limits. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Public parks, like this one at Trinity Beach, remain off limits. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

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They also show shopping centre carparks appearing as busy as ever - a nuance anybody who searched in vain for toilet paper in the early weeks of lockdown would no doubt appreciate.

The shutdown has already had a major effect on the Cairns economy with a new report forecasting a $389 million hit to the region by July.

Palm Cove beach with an absence of humans. Beaches have remained open during lockdown, though for the first weeks of restrictions you were only allowed on the beach to exercise. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Palm Cove beach with an absence of humans. Beaches have remained open during lockdown, though for the first weeks of restrictions you were only allowed on the beach to exercise. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

It has been a long and hard slog for everybody from mums, dads and children dealing with the school shutdown to hospitality workers left without jobs as trade came to a dead halt.

Fetta's Greek Taverna owner George Karagiannis said he was finally starting to see some life return to the CBD - but it was a drop in the ocean compared to what was needed to kickstart the city's economy.

AFL Cape York House for girls at Redlynch. The sport based boarding school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls had to close and the girls return home once Queensland declared a state of emergency and travel restrictions were put in place. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
AFL Cape York House for girls at Redlynch. The sport based boarding school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls had to close and the girls return home once Queensland declared a state of emergency and travel restrictions were put in place. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"There's definitely a few more people in the city," he said.

"Basically people can now walk around the Esplanade area and this sort of thing, and go home, which is beautiful.

"But after that the city becomes dead again."

Redlynch Central shopping centre. Grocery and liquor stores have remained open throughout the lockdown. Other retailers are now permitted to trade. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Redlynch Central shopping centre. Grocery and liquor stores have remained open throughout the lockdown. Other retailers are now permitted to trade. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Mr Karagiannis vented his frustration at the State Government's decision to limit restaurants to 10 dine-in customers at a time, which he said would barely cover electricity costs.

"It's ridiculous," he said.

"I went to Bunnings before and there were people everywhere.

"You go to Cairns Central and people are everywhere, just about bumping into each other."

Queenslanders are now permitted to partake in recreational boating and the use of personal water craft such as jet skis after restrictions were eased on Saturday, May 2. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Queenslanders are now permitted to partake in recreational boating and the use of personal water craft such as jet skis after restrictions were eased on Saturday, May 2. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Mr Karagiannis hoped the council would return from the COVID-19 shutdown with a new spirit of latitude for business operators trying to claw back a living.

He wanted flea markets lining the CBD roads, buskers, footpath dining trials and colourful on-street displays to become the new norm.

Cairns during COVID series. Sugarworld at Edmonton is usually packed full of children and families of the Easter holidays, but due to Queensland government restrictions, it remains closed. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Cairns during COVID series. Sugarworld at Edmonton is usually packed full of children and families of the Easter holidays, but due to Queensland government restrictions, it remains closed. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"If someone wants to put a wooden table on the footpath, let them do it, don't charge them for six months just so they can give it a try," he said.

"Why would we want to have empty footpaths?

"We need to start bringing the city alive again."

Cairns Golf Club temporarily closed its 18-hole course and driving range due to conflicting rules surrounding liquor licensing. The club reopened to members, and then one week later, reopened to the public on alternating days. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Cairns Golf Club temporarily closed its 18-hole course and driving range due to conflicting rules surrounding liquor licensing. The club reopened to members, and then one week later, reopened to the public on alternating days. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen said the region was just starting to see some "green shoots" that should grow into a flourishing tourism industry - if given the right fertiliser.

"We're starting to see some early bookings for accommodation in June, once the travel ban is lifted for overnight stays," he said.

 

Public exercise equipment, such as this in Coastwatcher Park at Trinity Beach, remains off limits. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Public exercise equipment, such as this in Coastwatcher Park at Trinity Beach, remains off limits. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"It's time for a little glimmer of optimism.

"But obviously it's also time to make sure we contain the spread of COVID, keep our distance and stay home if we're sick."

Originally published as Ghostly drone vision reveals Cairns in lockdown

Community and sporting clubs such as the Gordonvale Bowls Club are hopeful that the gradual easing of restrictions mean they can soon begin trading again. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Community and sporting clubs such as the Gordonvale Bowls Club are hopeful that the gradual easing of restrictions mean they can soon begin trading again. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
The Yorkeys Knob Boating Club remains closed to members and the public, but members can still access the marina and their boats. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
The Yorkeys Knob Boating Club remains closed to members and the public, but members can still access the marina and their boats. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Cairns during COVID series. Public swimming pools such as the Woree Pool will reopen after Queensland government restrictions ease on May 16. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Cairns during COVID series. Public swimming pools such as the Woree Pool will reopen after Queensland government restrictions ease on May 16. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
The Queensland government is currently working on a plan to allow community sporting clubs, such as the Cairns and District Rugby League, to start play and competition matches. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
The Queensland government is currently working on a plan to allow community sporting clubs, such as the Cairns and District Rugby League, to start play and competition matches. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Public tennis courts remain closed. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Public tennis courts remain closed. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

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