Coun­cil snubs Wa­ter­front

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

Coun­cil of­fi­cers have rec­om­mended three pri­or­ity projects for fed­eral fund­ing - an in­door ac­tiv­i­ties cen­tre in Ed­mon­ton, up­grad­ing the Mar­lin Coast waste­water plant at Smith­field, and a Cairns-wide cy­cle-path net­work.

How­ever, it is un­likely coun­cil will push all three projects for­ward to take ad­van­tage of the first round of fund­ing from the Re­gional Devel­op­ment Aus­tralia Fund.

“This is go to be a very com­pet­i­tive fund,” mayor Val Schier said.

“Across the coun­try, there will be 565 coun­cils com­pet­ing for $100 mil­lion. The Wa­ter­front is not ready for this round, but it will cer­tainly go for­ward in a cou­ple of months.

“If we put it up now, it’s al­most guar­an­teed not to be sup­ported.

“We don’t have de­tailed de­signs or a com­mit­ment from the State Gov­ern­ment to sup­port the project.

“The Ed­mon­ton cen­tre, how­ever, is ready to go.”

Lo­cal coun­cil­lor Ju­lia Leu said she was “very dis­ap­pointed” coun­cil has de­cided it’s not in a po­si­tion to ap­ply for fund­ing for the Wa­ter­front at this stage.

“I think the Wa­ter­front is a far more ap­peal­ing project for the Com­mon­wealth, and more likely to be suc­cess­ful than the other projects coun­cil has de­cided will be sup­ported,” she said.

“Whilst some as­pects need fine­tun­ing, I bet it is a far more com­pre­hen­sive pro­posal at this stage than oth­ers that may be sub­mit­ted.

“It cer­tainly ticks all the boxes in terms of the re­gional sig­nif­i­cance and con­tribut­ing to eco­nomic and com­mu­nity growth.

“There’s no guarantee this fund will still be around in 12 months’ time.”

State MP for Cook Ja­son O’Brien de­scribed coun­cil’s po­si­tion as “bloody stupid”.

“I know the project isn’t 100 per cent ready to go, but you need to get your ap­pli­ca­tion in now,” he said.

How­ever, even the lo­cal man­ager of the RDA Fund said the Port Dou­glas Wa­ter­front was un­likely to win any friends in Can­berra in the first round.

“It’s a big project, and so it will be a longer, harder haul in terms of bud­get out­comes,” act­ing chair of the lo­cal RDA com­mit­tee Allan Dale said.

“There’s only $100 mil­lion avail­able in this round of fund­ing.

“In the big­ger pic­ture, there’s about $500 mil­lion avail­able at the mo­ment, with a fur­ther $500 mil­lion de­pen­dent on the pas­sage of the re­source rent tax.

Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Doug Ryan was san­guine about the devel­op­ment this week.

“I don’t think coun­cil has to rush this through,” said Mr Ryan, who has been push­ing for a la­goon pool to be built as a pri­or­ity.

“There are a range of is­sues that haven’t yet been re­solved.

“How­ever, there is a lot of work that could be started with­out touch­ing the la­goon.

“I’m ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed the Wa­ter­front precinct as a whole hasn’t been con­sid­ered a coun­cil pri­or­ity.”

Port Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Ken Dobbs also said he thought the Wa­ter­front project was “the best plan coun­cil has to cre­ate pros­per­ity for the re­gion”.

“If coun­cil en­dorses th­ese three projects, that will be three projects in the queue ahead of the Wa­ter­front,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.