What to do with cy­clone shel­ter

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - SAM SMALLBONE

IT RE­MAINS un­clear if lo­cal res­i­dents will be able to utilise the pro­posed cy­clone shel­ter in Port Dou­glas “99.999 per cent of the time”.

Com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives and lo­cal emer­gency ser­vices are still un­sure what the struc­ture will be used for af­ter an Ed­u­ca­tion Queens­land of­fi­cial told a meet­ing last week the shel­ter, to be built at Port Dou­glas State School, would be pri­mar­ily a school fa­cil­ity.

The meet­ing pre­sented a draft of the cy­clone shel­ter de­sign, which would have a ca­pac­ity of up to 780 peo­ple for be­tween 18-24 hours dur­ing an ex­treme weather event.

It would not be used to ac­com­mo­date peo­ple in the re­cov­ery pe­riod af­ter a cy­clone.

Up to 600 chairs will be avail­able to those seek­ing shel­ter, how­ever there will be lim­ited space avail­able for ly­ing down and for per­sonal pos­ses­sions and there will be no pro­vi­sions for park­ing.

Moss­man SES unit con­troller Bob Tay­lor ques­tioned where peo­ple are go­ing to park.

“We have been as­sured that there will be ac­cess for heavy ve­hi­cles and emer­gency ve­hi­cles into the cy­clone shel­ter,” Mr Tay­lor said.

“But one of my con­cerns was the car park­ing avail­able for peo­ple who ar­rive at the cen­tre.

“We need to en­sure that peo­ple park their cars in IGA, the Wildlife Habi­tat or in streets away from the cen­tre so there are no re­stric­tions.”

Port Dou­glas Am­bu­lance OIC Craig Down­ing ex­pressed con­cerns of the cen­tre be­ing solely used as a school fa­cil­ity.

“We would cer­tainly wel­come it to be used as much as pos­si­ble by all sec­tors of the com­mu­nity,” Mr Down­ing said.

“I would sup­port a com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tion that over­sees the fa­cil­ity rather than left strictly in the hands of the school.”

Mr Down­ing stressed that the fa­cil­ity is meant to cater for the ar­rival of a cy­clone.

“Port Dou­glas is a com­mu­nity with a very wide geo­graphic group of peo­ple who are on hol­i­days and who are not pre­pared for an event of a cy­clone, so this fa­cil­ity is very worth­while to our re­gion and should be em­braced,” he said.

How­ever one of the driv­ing forces for the cy­clone shel­ter, Rus­sell Jean, was dis­ap­pointed from what he heard in the meet­ing.

“We were led to be­lieve by the State Gov­ern­ment that we would be re­ceiv­ing a pub­lic fa­cil­ity and the only rea­son it was be­ing built at the school was be­cause it was on state owned land,” he said.

Mr Jean is also dis­ap­pointed mem­bers of the com­mu­nity had not had a say in the de­sign.

“This is our only chance for get­ting a good fa­cil­ity for this re­gion and if they don’t do it right now, we won’t get a sec­ond go at it,” Mr Jean stressed.

“By say­ing peo­ple won’t be able to lie down is a worry.

“What do they think chil­dren and the el­derly are go­ing to do, these events can be ex­haust­ing.”

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