Ma­rina re­prieve

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

THE fu­ture of the Port Dou­glas ma­rina re­mains stag­nant af­ter the State Govern­ment ac­cepted Meri­dien’s re­quest for more time to ac­cept the of­fer to pur­chase free­hold ten­ure.

Meri­dien Mari­nas Port Dou­glas was granted the ex­ten­sion to pur­chase free­hold ten­ure of the land and a new long-term lease for the ma­rina by the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Mines.

An ear­lier ex­ten­sion to agree to the State Govern­ment’s of­fer was due to ex­pire on April 30, how­ever DNRM con­firmed a fur­ther ex­ten­sion was granted un­til Au­gust 6.

Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Phoebe Kitto called for more ur­gency to re­de­velop the prime wa­ter­front site.

‘‘We would love to see ei­ther Meri­dien start to do some work on up­grad­ing the fa­cil­ity or find a buyer pre­pared to in­vest in it and it’s go­ing to be a lot more at­trac­tive to any buyer if they are able to have the free­hold,’’ Ms Kitto said.

‘‘The ma­rina is an im­por­tant as­set to Port Dou­glas and it’s vi­tal that space gets up­graded and the nec­es­sary funds spent on it.

‘‘It is cat­a­lystic in more ways than one, if we can get the free­hold to go through, then the State Govern­ment can ful­fill its prom­ise to rein­vest those monies from the sale of the land into the Wa­ter­front de­vel­op­ment.’’

DNRM ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor north re­gion An­drew Buck­ley said the rea­son be­hind the de­ci­sion fol­lowed a re­quest from Meri­dien for an ex­ten­sion.

‘‘The DNRM con­sid­ers all re­quests from land ten­ure ap­pli­cants that seek ad­di­tional time to con­sider of­fers and meet of­fer re­quire­ments,’’ he said.

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Port Dou­glas Ma­rina Rus­sell McCart did not want to comment.

A bid for the ma­rina by Chi­nese busi­ness­man Grant Sheng col­lapsed in March dur­ing the due dil­li­gence process.

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