Push to shelve ferry fee
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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