Lagoon wake-up call
A GROUP of private business owners and leaders frustrated at the lengthy planning and consultation process has taken matters into their own hands to get a lagoon built on the waterfront of Port Douglas.
Yesterday, a local “consortium” of concerned business and industry representatives met behind closed doors at Bistro 3 to unveil a fully costed, “shovel ready” $15 million proposal.
Compiled by Prime Constructions director Andy Taylor, the dossier was designed to provide a lightning rod to jolt the waterfront masterplan process into action ahead of the March 2011 completion date.
“This is not a fait accompli by any means but given the massive wealth of experience and expertise that exists locally, we know we can do it and do it well,” Mr Taylor said.
“We didn’t bypass or set out to offend anyone.
“In fairness the council is constrained to some extent by all the other stakeholders that need to be accommodated in the process.
“We just very quietly set about pulling together all the existing information from council, the Advisory Committee, local governments and other documents to give our community leaders the ammunition they need to start moving and get it happening,” Mr Taylor said.
Already, Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch and Division 10 councillor Julia Leu have thrown their support behind it but State Member for Cook Jason O’Brien is fuming the meeting went ahead without his knowledge.
“I’m very disappointed not to have had the opportunity to be there. Since I haven’t seen the proposal or been invited to the meeting, I’m hardly in a position to comment,” Mr O’Brien said.
Mr Entsch said it would be a case of “let’s start digging” as soon as the final configuration and technical details were finalised by the council and its advisory committee.
“Why waste time?” Mr Entsch said. “We have a concept, site and price which will be a deposit on the much larger commitment that will be required to develop the whole of the waterfront proposal.”
While admitting funding commitments still needed to be secured, Mr Entsch said he was prepared to start talking to Federal Regional Development Minister Simon Crean “next week” now a firm proposal was in his hands.
“This is the first time in all the years I’ve been the local member when the community has come to government with a plan for major capital investment in community infrastructure,” he said.
Cr Leu said the council had not been rebuffed by the community’s plan as it was pretty close to the options already being assessed.
“The timing is very good as it will be incorporated in the feasibility study to ensure there’s a full technical, hydrological and environmental assessment of the proposal,” she said.
“We just need to get on with it. As soon as it starts, it will bring people in the community together as they get a sense something is happening.”