Calls to broaden free ferry pass

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

CAIRNS Re­gional Coun­cil will con­sider ex­tend­ing the free Dain­tree River ferry pass to the wider Cairns re­gion.

Coun­cil yes­ter­day adopted the re­view of the ferry con­ces­sion.

The re­view rec­om­mended an in­crease to ser­vices such as char­i­ties and schools from the whole Cairns re­gion.

Di­vi­sion 10 Coun­cil­lor Ju­lia Leu said they adopted the pol­icy so peo­ple would be able to re­new their ferry cards, which are ex­pected to ex­pire at the end of June.

“If this had not been re­newed yes­ter­day it would’ve dis­ad­van­taged a num­ber of res­i­dents in Dou­glas and sig­nif­i­cant num­ber across the river,” she said.

“The pol­icy had to be ap­proved be­fore staff could reis­sue the new ferry card and the ticket books.

“How­ever, amend­ments to the pol­icy can be made any time and in gen­eral busi­ness I put for­ward a gen­eral mo­tion and promised the re­port on the re­sults of the Smart Card be tabled at coun­cil at the ear­li­est to get the ben­e­fits of that anal­y­sis.”

Cr Leu said she would wait un­til the re­port on the smart card ini­tia­tive was de­liv­ered to coun­cil but would like to see the con­ces­sion ex­tended to the great Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil area.

“There is an agree­ment by coun­cil that we would con­sider the ex­ten­sion to the rest of the CRC area with the ben­e­fit of the data anal­y­sis and rec­om­men­da­tion re­sults of the smart card ini­tia­tive,” she said.

Dain­tree Mar­ket­ing Co­op­er­a­tive chair­per­son Sheena Walshaw said the Smart Card trial saw an in­crease in vis­i­tors across the river.

“Some busi­nesses re­ally saw in­creased busi­ness through the smart card promo- tion,” she said.

“Re­moval of fees does en­cour­age lo­cals to travel here and busi­nesses like camp­grounds and stores saw mas­sive in­creases in busi­ness.

“From our per­spec­tive any ini­tia­tive that makes it eas­ier for peo­ple to travel to this re­gion and re­moves that fi­nan­cial bar­rier would be very wel­come.

“Ev­ery­one who lives in this com­mu­nity un­der the Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil should have the right to that con­ces­sional card to travel here.”

Res­i­dents across the Dain­tree would like to see the ferry to be funded fed­er­ally con­sid­er­ing it is a main road.

“In 2015 when the ferry li­cence is rene­go­ti­ated, we hope coun­cil would look to­ward the fu­ture where peo­ple don’t have to pay to cross the Dain­tree River,” Ms Walshaw said.

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