DECONSTRUCTION plans are in place for a dilapidated sugar handling facility behind the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal.

White’s Shed was built at the port of Cairns in 1923. The shed housed Queensland’s first mechanical sugar loading facility; a conveyor system was installed to move sugar bags to and from ships’ holds and railway wagons.

The conveyor is recognised as infrastructure of significant cultural heritage, but the shed has been unused since the 1964, when the Cairns bulk sugar terminal opened in Portsmith.

Ports North and local stakeholders have been calling for the “badly dilapidated” shed to be removed, but deconstruction of the building has required careful consideration and consultation with the Queensland Heritage Council, the port said.

But Ports North said it now has an approved plan in place to deconstruct shed and preserve the bag-stacking conveyer during the first three weeks of August 2024.

The timing coincides with a break in cruise shipping, avoiding disruption to services and passengers.

“Ahead of deconstruction, we need to finalise the contractor and approach,” Ports North said.

“We anticipate areas of the parkland directly in front of the cruise liner terminal may need to be cleared of trees to allow adequate access to the site.

“It is also possible that other park features may need to be temporarily relocated to avoid damage. As part of the planning, we have consulted the relevant agencies and groups to ensure we respect cultural and environmental aspects.”

Clearing and relocation work could commence as early as the end of June 2024, in preparation for the August deconstruction.

Ports North noted it will need to close a section of Wharf Street on the southbound side during the deconstruction period, and some areas of the park will need to be fenced off from the public.

All work is due to be completed including total restoration of the parkland by end of September 2024.