Water­front given green light

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

CAIRNS Re­gional Coun­cil yes­ter­day unan­i­mously en­dorsed the re­vised plan for the Port Dou­glas Water­front.

The highly con­tentious is­sue of where to build the la­goon pool has fi­nally been de­cided, with coun­cil tak­ing on board in­put from the con­sul­ta­tion process to make changes to the orig­i­nal plan but keep­ing it in the area of Lo­ca­tion 4, presently the car park next to St Mary’s by the Sea church.

The site will also in­clude a toi­let block, bar­be­cues, ex­ten­sive land­scap­ing and pos­si­bly a small kiosk.

Lo­ca­tion 1 in the tidal zone, the orig­i­nal site pro­posed for the la­goon which re­ceived plenty of sup­port in the con­sul­ta­tion process, was ruled out on en­vi­ron­men­tal and fea­si­bil­ity grounds.

Sev­eral gov­ern­ment de­part­ments made it clear they were un­likely to ap­prove any pro­posed la­goon in the tidal zone dur­ing the con­sul­ta­tion process and it failed to match up as a fea­si­ble al­ter­na­tive.

Amend­ments were also made to plans for the pro­posed re­lo­ca­tion of the boat ramp from next to the Com­bined Club to near the Port Dou­glas Yacht Club af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and the yacht club com­mit­tee.

But even if fund­ing was ap­proved for the Water­front, it would still take up to two years be­fore con­struc­tion be­gins.

Divi­sion 10 Coun­cil­lor Ju­lia Leu said she was happy that the plan had fi­nally been ap­proved.

“The site and de­sign cho­sen was unan­i­mously passed by coun­cil and will be a great boost to Port Dou­glas and the whole re­gion,” she said.

“It is now re­ally im­por­tant to em­brace the plan as it will pro­vide an ex­cel­lent and much-needed jobs boost, as well as a flow-on ef­fect to other busi­nesses. The la­goon site is a fab­u­lous lo­ca­tion and will only fur­ther help to drive in­vest­ment in Port Dou­glas.”

Coun­cil’s Dou­glas re­gional man­ager Liz Col­lyer said she was proud of the changes made to the Water­front plan af­ter the con­sul­ta­tion process.

“The com­mu­nity is a pas­sion­ate one and its voice has been heard on this par­tic­u­lar de­vel­op­ment,” she said.

Mayor Val Schier said the tidal zone site for the la­goon pool sim­ply didn’t stack up.

“We have work­shopped this ex­ten­sively and clearly the in­let site is prob­lem­atic and so the pro­posed site is the most likely and the best site,” she said.

Port Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Ken Dobbs wel­comed the de­ci­sion and is keen for coun­cil to now se­cure fed­eral and state fund­ing.

“Adop­tion of the plan will cer­tainly be a mile­stone in the town’s his­tory over the years and the ap­proved site does have some con­tentious is­sues,” he said.

“But it is very pos­i­tive that a de­ci­sion has been made and we can be­gin get­ting this un­der­way so long as State and Com­mon­wealth fund­ing is granted or the pro­ject can­not go ahead - it will re­main just that, a plan and noth­ing more.”

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