En­cour­ag­ing signs

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

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?”

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