OWNER of clothing store Transit Allan Evans is encouraged by the Revitalise Port Douglas report and is desperate to see the region return to its prime.
“When I came here six-and-a-half years ago and there was so much going on, there was millions of dollars worth of development and two movies being made,” he said.
“Then there was no development, no work for tradies and a lot of people left town and not putting money into the economy.”
Mr Evans blamed the high Australian dollar as the main deterrent for tourists.
“And when they do come the prices are exorbitant compared to home,” he said.
“Also the high interest rates, the banks here are not passing on rate cuts and need to stop being so bloody greedy.”
Areas highlighted in the Melbourne Business School report on the retail industry highlight inconsistent opening hours, tired infrastructure and the issue of boutique versus chain stores.
“I can understand why places close in the wet season, it costs to stay open but we do have an obligation to open for those customers who do come and we should stay open the hours they legislate for us to open,” Mr Evans said.
“And if we have too many chain stores we don’t have a point of difference - the balance at the moment is right - people come from Cairns to shop here because we are unique and different.
“In regards to infrastructure, I make an effort every year to try and improve my shops, whatever is wrong I to address it in the wet season - it’s hard to motivate myself to do it, but it’s essential.”
The MBS report suggests another catalytic development needs to occur to help revitalise the town, similar to the development of the Sheraton Mirage, and Mr Evans agreed, saying the town needs a united voice and “something needs to happen”.
“I want another movie, the waterfront lagoon or the marina, something to kickstart the town,” he said.
“To the factions in town over the lagoon - at the end of the day let’s get it started and get rid of the negativity.
“Another idea is the fact there is no sign for Port Douglas (on the Captain Cook Highway), it’s a simple one but obvious.
“How many people have passed the Port Douglas turn-off?”