Shelter reclaim aim
THE tender is out for the Port Douglas cyclone shelter but debates are still raging over the location and size and also the fact an eleventh cyclone shelter has been announced.
Local businessmen Russell Jean and Steve Hull have been consulting with Member for Cook Jason O’brien, LNP candidate David Kempton, people in the building industry and anyone who will listen to convince the State Government to return the decision-making process to the community “and get more bang for our buck”.
But so far their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
“This is for the community, we can see a need in the community and we really need a fair dinkum sit down - give us our community consultation,” Mr Jean said.
The State Government has earmarked $6 million for the Port Douglas cyclone shelter out of $60 million allocated to build 10 cyclone shelters throughout the state - although it is believed up to $11.5 million will be spent on the Weipa facility.
The United Arab Emirates donated $30 million to the fund after devastating floods and cyclones earlier this year.
Mr O’brien was in Hopevale recently to hand over the deeds to the traditional owners and pledged $4.5 million to build a multi-purpose cyclone shelter but said the funding is not coming out of the United Arab Emirates fund.
“The Hopevale cyclone shelter is $4.5 million from the state, $700,000 from federal funding and $500,000 from the local authority,” he said.
“It’s more expensive to build in Weipa than in Port Douglas, that’s the nature of building in very remote areas - but they’re going to get the same thing, it’s all essentially the same design.”
Mr Jean and Mr Hull had the cyclone shelter plans analysed and costed by local architect Gary Hunt, who believed the Port Douglas design is based upon a sports hall and does not have “supplementary spaces capable of alternative activities or uses apart from the sports lab”.
Based on the designs, he estimated the cost of the Port Douglas shelter to be $3-3.5 million for the building exclusive of external works, service connections and consultants’ fees.
Mr Jean and Mr Hull want the $6 million set aside to be better utilised to increase the capacity and use of the shelter and have it built on a larger council-owned site on Old Port Rd.
Mr O’brien believes the Port Douglas shelter - which will fit 500 people - is big enough.
“This is a great project for Port Douglas, largest capital works project to be built in Port Douglas and ultimately it’s going to be a great resource for the community and a great story for Port Douglas,” he said.
LNP candidate for Cook David Kempton would not commit to reversing the tender and handing the decision-making process back to the community if he is elected at next year’s election and the LNP wins office but said he supported the concept and would look at it if he does win office.
Contentious: an artist’s
impression of the Port Douglas cyclone shelter