La­goon still dry

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - MIKE ED­WARDS

MEM­BER for Cook Ja­son O’brien has con­tra­dicted his boss over po­ten­tial fund­ing ar­range­ments for a pro­posed Waterfront la­goon in Port Dou­glas.

Premier Anna Bligh specif­i­cally men­tioned the Port Dou­glas Waterfront last Fri­day when an­nounc­ing a new $20 mil­lion tourism in­fra­struc­ture fund “to de­liver new tourism fa­cil­i­ties such as la­goons, public at­trac­tions and street-scap­ing” if La­bor is re-elected on March 24.

But Mr O’brien quickly hosed down any hopes the an­nounce­ment sig­nalled a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment in Stage 1 of the Waterfront, con­sist­ing of the con­struc­tion of a la­goon pool, re­lo­ca­tion of the boat ramp and the Waterfront park at an es­ti­mated cost of $35.3 mil­lion.

“The Premier specif­i­cally men­tioned the Port Dou­glas Waterfront at the an­nounce­ment of the new fund on Fri­day,” Mr O’brien said.

“But it’s not go­ing to be enough to do the la­goon.

“Along with the money from the free­hold­ing of the ma­rina leases I’m con­fi­dent of get­ting at least some money, a few mil­lion, from the fund to do some work on the project - maybe land­scap­ing or some work to the sugar wharf should coun­cil put in an ap­pli­ca­tion.”

Port Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com- merce pres­i­dent Ken Dobbs said the town needed new in­fra­struc­ture that rep­re­sented a se­ri­ous in­vest­ment in the im­prove­ment of the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence and in turn at­tracted fur­ther pri­vate in­vest­ment.

“We need sig­nif­i­cant funds, not just a drib­ble,” Mr Dobbs said.

“Nei­ther side in the elec­tion cam­paign has put a good of­fer of fund­ing on the ta­ble so far.”

Lo­cal busi­ness peo­ple will have the chance to hear from and ques­tion both Mr O’brien and the LNP’S can­di­date for Cook David Kemp­ton at a lun­cheon at the Sher­a­ton Mi­rage next Thurs­day.

Book­ing de­tails are avail­able at port­dou­glascham­

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