Can­di­dates put elec­tion hand up

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

AROUND 60 res­i­dents from Clifton Beach to the Dain­tree at­tended a lo­cal coun­cil elec­tion forum to hear what the may­oral and Di­vi­sion 10 can­di­dates had to say on Tues­day night.

The meet­ing, hosted by the Port Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com­merce, at the Sea Tem­ple Golf Club, was to give res­i­dents an op­por­tu­nity to ask the can­di­dates ques­tions and find out who will best rep­re­sent them.

All eight can­di­dates agreed de-amal­ga­ma­tion seemed the best op­tion for the re­gion but in the in­terim promised to work harder to sort the grow­ing rift be­tween the Dou­glas re­gion and the Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil and also work on im­prov­ing the tourism in­dus­try.

May­oral can­di­date Mar­garet Cochrane promised to re­plant ma­ture co­conut trees in place of the 49 cut down on Four Mile Beach and in­ves­ti­gate green power for the Dain­tree and raised her idea of com­mu­nity “chat ses­sions” with coun­cil­lors.

Bob Man­ning is con­cerned the econ­omy could re­turn to a global fi­nan­cial cri­sis and promised a cost-ef­fec­tive coun­cil and to re­store Cairns’ cur­rent as­sets, the CBD’S ap­pear­ance and loss of busi­ness.

Ian Thomas painted the coun­cil as hav­ing an “un­cer­tain fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion” and be­lieves no money should be spent on the Cairns En­ter­tain­ment Precinct or any new as­sets while warn­ing the di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of tourism needed to be care­fully con­sid­ered.

In­cum­bent Mayor Val Schier was in op­po­site view, want­ing to cap­i­talise on the so­lar eclipse in Novem­ber sim­i­lar to the Pres­i­dent Clin­ton visit to cap­ture a global au­di­ence and was con­fi­dent with the coun­cil’s fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, com­par­ing the debt to other coun­cils as “low”.

Af­ter a ques­tions and an­swer time, the Di­vi­sion 10 can­di­dates spoke and all said they would chase fund­ing and sup­port from coun­cil to im­ple­ment the Melbourne Busi­ness School’s Re­vi­talise Port Dou­glas re­port.

Can­di­date Terry Melchert promised to fo­cus on both the tourism and agri­cul­tural in­dus­tries and said he would push to freeze rates for one year to help combat the eco­nomic down­turn and fo­cus on public in­fra­struc­ture main­te­nance and relook at the Waterfront plan.

Pete Smith said he would lobby for more money for tourism, promised more com­mu­ni­ca­tion and said the orig­i­nal Waterfront la­goon lo­ca­tion in the ti­dal zone was the only place for it and of­fered more help for the fish­ing in­dus­try.

In­cum­bent Ju­lia Leu said she would sup­port the coun­cil’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and in­no­va­tion team to di­ver­sify the econ­omy and promised to con­tinue to lis­ten to peo­ple’s views and fo­cus on up­grad­ing the sewage treat­ment plant, get­ting a new reser­voir for Port Dou­glas and light­ing for Port Dou­glas’s sports ground.

Bob Shaw expressed his con­cerns Palm Cove and Clifton Beach had a “re­duced pres­ence and rep­re­sen­ta­tion on coun­cil” and would in­ves­ti­gate chang­ing the di­vi­sional boundaries to be part of the north­ern beaches, and said Palm Cove and Clifton Beach would pre­fer the money spent on Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree went to­wards Tourism Trop­i­cal North Queens­land for ev­ery­one’s ben­e­fit.

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