Im­age needs pol­ish­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

Ian Efrat (Let­ters, Oc­to­ber 10) has ob­vi­ously thought deeply about Port Dou­glas so it is not sur­pris­ing that some of his mus­ings are al­ready em­bod­ied in the Port Dou­glas Water­front Mas­ter Plan (2009). I as­sume Ian has not been here long enough to have dis­cov­ered this doc­u­ment. Hope­fully, once our re-in­stated coun­cil has found its feet, ev­ery­one will be­come aware of the plan as coun­cil fol­lows its guide­lines. The plan is on Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil’s web­site and I would be happy to dis­cuss its back­ground and con­tents. It is true that our im­age needs pol­ish­ing, in the form of ren­o­va­tion rather than another build­ing boom, but Ian over­looks the fact that Port Dou­glas is the gate­way to the fab­u­lous nat­u­ral as­sets of the whole of the Dou­glas Shire, so we do not need to build con­flict­ing ar­ti­fi­cial at­trac­tions. While Cairns is turn­ing it­self into a mas­sive un­sus­tain­able theme park, the more we will thrive by cher­ish­ing our nat­u­ral beauty and our sense of com­mu­nity and iden­tity. The Dou­glas Shire has al­ways been more than just a tourist desti­na­tion, a fact ap­pre­ci­ated by our visi­tors. In the last six years we have suf­fered a dou­ble deficit - lo­cally we be­came an outer sub­urb of Cairns, which has threat­ened our iden­tity and we joined the rest of Tourism Aus­tralia tak­ing a GFC and ex­change rate hit. But I find it con­sol­ing and en­cour­ag­ing that we have just ex­pe­ri­enced a re­ally good tourist sea­son prov­ing that it was the econ­omy and not our slightly shabby im­age and po­lit­i­cal limbo that was keep­ing visi­tors away. We should learn from this as we re­cover from both th­ese hand­i­caps and be care­ful not to rock the iden­tity boat.

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