Sheraton no shelter mirage
THE Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce has called for the proposed cyclone shelter to be built on the grounds of the Sheraton Mirage to make it economically viable for the community.
The shelter, which is planned to be built at the Port Douglas State School by 2012, will be utilised as a community centre and indoor sports centre.
Chamber president Ken Dobbs said Port Douglas already has a community centre and having the shelter at the Mirage would make it bigger and accessible for conferences.
The idea is to incorporate the cyclone shelter in with Sheraton owner David Mariner’s plan to develop a community convention facility at the Sheraton Mirage by transferring the land to the state.
“This scenario could provide a huge economic benefit to Port Douglas with no additional long term cost to the state,” Mr Dobbs said.
“The land could be utilised for a combined evacuation, conference and sporting facility.”
Mr Dobbs said having another community centre in Port Douglas would turn the community hall into a “white elephant”.
“The community hall cost $2.3 million and it’s not being used for anything other than sporting events and the occasional art shows, it’s extremely underutilised,” he said.
The Chamber’s proposal comes at an estimated cost of an additional $9 million to make the cyclone shelter a $15 million facility.
“The outcome would be an infrastructure which provides all the needs of the current proposal and delivers a huge economic benefit to Port Douglas and the state,” Mr Dobbs said.
State Member for Cook Jason O’Brien said he is willing to look at a formal proposal but time is running out.
“I’m happy to have a look at it and show it to the relevant ministers but I haven’t seen anything and the clock is ticking,” he said.
“The cyclone shelter will be more than a cyclone shelter under the current proposal, it will also be a community sport and entertainment centre and have all sorts of activities.
“I would imagine if people wanted to hire the centre for particular events like conferences I’m sure that would be possible under the current arrangement.”