Lighting ‘at top of the list’
DESIGNS are being finalised for street lighting on Warner St and put on top of the list as part of the Port Douglas Master Plan.
A 19-year-old woman fought off an attacker between Warner and Mowbray Streets while walking home after work on December 8, when she was grabbed from behind. In November 2010, two women were allegedly sexually assaulted in two separate incidences in the same location along Warner St, while walking home from licensed venues.
Police have said more lighting would help prevent crime and will assist the audit by providing any input required, according to Port Douglas Officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Damian Meadows.
“I know that people have to be mindful of their own safety given conditions, if there is a poor-lit-area, if it can be avoided that would be safest thing to do,” he said. “I know the council is not a bottomless pit but until council decide that areas need to be upgraded, we are still going to be dealing with these problems.
Council’s regional manager for Douglas Liz Collyer said there were initial plans already designed for the street but are being finalised in accordance to the Australian Road Lighting Standards.
“Warner Street is part of the Port Douglas Master Plan with a number of infrastructure works planned for the street,” she said.
“This section of Warner Street is an iconic streetscape for Port with the avenue of Indian Padauk trees, which is much loved by the community but has also presented challenges in lighting designs.
“Designs have been developed to work around the trees to ensure retention of their iconic value.”
The areas of Mudlo St and Owen St are just as bad as Warner and guests at the Port Douglas Queenslander have reported to owners Gavin and Julie Johnston of injuries from falling in the dark.
“It’s not a good look for Port tourism and not a good look for local residents who work late and walk home,” Julie said.
“I rang the council initially and they told me lighting was an Ergon Energy matter, I rang them and explained who we were and what the problem was and was told, ’You’ll have to pay for that’.”
The Johnstons received a works order in the mail, which stated to have someone come out and investigate it would cost them $250.
Ergon energy spokesperson Mark Timmerman explained that it is Ergon’s responsibility to install and maintain lighting but organising lighting is up to the Cairns Regional Council.
“Council decide where and how as a rule, if council deem there is a need for more lighting it’s a matter for them, if it’s an issue with lights not working it needs to be reported t us,” he said.
Division 10 councillor Julia Leu said the whole area is part of the Master Plan, but agrees there is a need for more lighting in the interim.
“I will be requesting as a matter of urgency that we improve the lighting in that particular area and due to safety concerns I think we need to improve the lighting as soon as possible,” she said.