Edi­tor’s com­ment:

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FEEDBACK - Greg Mclean Man­ag­ing edi­tor

TOURISM op­er­a­tors north of the Dain­tree River have ev­ery right to ques­tion the ob­scene amount charged for tourists, or even Cairns res­i­dents for that mat­ter, to cross the ferry into their beau­ti­ful part of the world.

The Dain­tree ferry is the only one of its kind in Aus­tralia which charges peo­ple to get across a river be­cause for what­ever rea­son there is no bridge.

The fact that Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil makes a tidy profit out of it is in­sult­ing to the many busi­nesses in the Dain­tree on the bones of their bum be­cause of fall­ing tourist num­bers.

The Dou­glas re­gion is at­tract­ing many more bud­get-con­scious trav­ellers these days who ques­tion spend­ing $22 to visit the Dain­tree when they can go to the Table­lands for free or take a river cruise in­stead.

Even a Supreme Court judge has ex­pressed sur­prise at the charges in­flicted on peo­ple us­ing the ferry.

While coun­cil may ar­gue the ferry is a le­git­i­mate source of rev­enue, that same ar­gu­ment could be ap­plied to other sub­sidised ser­vices such as the la­goon pool in Cairns.

If the coun­cil can ab­sorb main­te­nance and run­ning costs to the tune of more than $1 mil­lion per year to ser­vice tourists loung­ing around a pool, why then can’t they do the same for a ferry ser­vice which by virtue of the cost is hav­ing a se­vere eco­nomic im­pact on the busi­nesses on the other side of the river.

Coun­cil should cer­tainly be ap­plauded for try­ing to pro­mote the re­gion with the Dain­tree Gateway pro­ject, but there also needs to be se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion as to the com­mer­cial im­pact of us­ing the ferry ser­vice as a rev­enue raiser.

The suc­cess of the free ferry ser­vice over the Easter hol­i­days proved many more peo­ple would visit the Dain­tree if there wasn’t such a high cost.

Lo­cal tourism authorities have put for­ward sug­ges­tions to make the ferry free, or at least cheaper, in the shoul­der sea­son to sup­port tourism or ex­pand the free card to all ratepay­ers in the coun­cil foot­print, not just those in the Dou­glas re­gion.

But their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Un­til these con­cerns are heard and ad­dressed, the out­look for many tourism op­er­a­tors in the Dain­tree will re­main bleak.

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