Image needs polishing
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.