Evac­u­a­tion cen­tre needed to pro­tect com­mu­nity

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - SAM SMALLBONE

ONE of the driv­ing forces be­hind Cook­town’s $10 mil­lion disas­ter evac­u­a­tion and com­mu­nity mul­tipur­pose cen­tre is call­ing for a sim­i­lar pro­ject to be built in Port Dou­glas.

Se­nior Con­sta­ble Rus­sell Jean was part of a com­mu­nity push for Cook­town’s newly-opened disas­ter evac­u­a­tion and com­mu­nity cen­tre while sta­tioned there.

Af­ter be­ing in­volved in emer­gency prepa­ra­tions in Port Dou­glas for Cy­clone Yasi, he be­lieves the need for an evac­u­a­tion cen­tre in the re­gion be­came high pri­or­ity af­ter lo­cals “dodged a bul­let”.

He is con­fi­dent a disas­ter evac­u­a­tion cen­tre would not only pro­vide a safe area for lo­cals and tourists dur­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, but would also cater for the com­mu­nity’s need for pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties.

“The com­mu­nity will ben­e­fit greatly from the cen­tre from a disas­ter man­age­ment point of view and from the point of view of hav­ing some fa­cil­i­ties for com­mu­nity groups, teenagers, schools, busi­nesses and the lo­cals,” he said.

“I feel the evac­u­a­tion and what was set up for this area was poorly or­gan­ised and it is ob­vi­ous that Port Dou­glas needs an evac­u­a­tion cen­tre as there are no such fa­cil­i­ties in the area.

“What was set up in Moss­man was a disgrace, as far as those that were evac­u­ated there were con­cerned.

“This can­not hap­pen again. We can­not con­tinue to go along think­ing we will be okay and do noth­ing in prepa­ra­tion for the up­com­ing cy­clone sea­son.”

Right there: Se­nior Con­sta­ble Rus­sell Jean points out where he thinks an evac­u­a­tion cen­tre should be built

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