Push to shelve ferry fee

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

RES­I­DENTS north of the Dain­tree River have met with Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil in bid to re­move the in­creas­ing ferry travel cost.

The meet­ing was held re­cently to dis­cuss ferry op­tions, in­clud­ing ex­tend­ing the Dain­tree Ferry Smart­card, how­ever, Bai­ley Creek Community League pres­i­dent Rus­sell O’Do­herty said they wanted the fee re­moved al­to­gether.

“The cost of the ferry for tourism is too much a cost to bear,” he said.

Mr O’Do­herty said some busi­nesses have ben­e­fited from the Dain­tree Ferry Smart­card, in­clud­ing the Cape Tribu­la­tion camp­ground and restau­rants, but ac­com­mo­da­tion houses have not felt the ben­e­fits.

The big­gest con­cern raised at the meet­ing with coun­cil is the fact the ferry was sup­posed to be rev­enue-neu­tral and not rev­enue-rais­ing.

Just un­der $2 mil­lion in rev­enue is cur­rently in a re­serve to be utilised for the Dain­tree Gate­way project and Mr O’Do­herty said lo­cals would like to see some of that money flow back to the other side of the Dain­tree.

“It’s a hell of a lot of money and our community isn’t see­ing a cracker of it, the community re­ally could do with a lot of in­fra­struc­ture, we’ve been try­ing to get a hall for years but even un­der the Dou­glas Shire noth­ing hap­pened,” he said.

“We need hard cov­ers over the tables down at Cow Bay and reveg­e­ta­tion work to sta­bilise the dune, we’ve been promised a lot but noth­ing has hap­pened.

“We’re the first community to ne­go­ti­ate a suc­cess­ful na­tive ti­tle agree­ment with tra­di­tional own­ers and an ad­vi­sory group should be formed from the community, Yalanji and coun­cil for the man­age­ment of the area and it’s fallen on deaf ears with coun­cil who don’t seem to be tak­ing it very se­ri­ously.”

Coun­cil’s act­ing CEO Peter Tab­ulo said coun­cil does not make any profit from the fees as­so­ci­ated with the Dain­tree River ferry.

“Money col­lected funds the on­go­ing op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance of the ferry, an­nual dredg­ing of the river and main­te­nance and im­prove­ments to the sur­round­ing ameni­ties and in­fra­struc­ture,” he said.

Mr O’Do­herty said the coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tives could not tell the meet­ing how much it was cost­ing the re­gion to im­ple­ment the free travel card and he would pre­fer to see money be­ing spent on a so­lu­tion, in­clud­ing the idea of build­ing a bridge, which the old Dou­glas Shire es­ti­mated at $10-11 mil­lion.

The group of con­cerned Dain­tree res­i­dents gave a list of is­sues in need of be­ing ad­dressed to the coun­cil of­fi­cers who said they will take it on board and are cur­rently cre­at­ing a re­port to present to coun­cil.


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