Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

CON­CERNED Dou­glas Shire com­mu­nity mem­bers protested out­side of Wool­worths yes­ter­day morn­ing in a bid to halt the in­stal­la­tion of traf­fic lights.

Coun­cil yes­ter­day de­cided to protest and the com­mu­nity came, with more than 40 peo­ple brav­ing the rain and early hour to make a stand against a de­ci­sion by the Depart­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads ( TMR) and the developer of the new Wool­worths com­plex on Front St.

Mayor Ju­lia Leu spoke at the peace­ful protest and said as a re­sult the de­vel­op­ers had agreed to meet with coun­cil to­mor­row af­ter­noon, along with TMR.

‘‘Coun­cil does not be­lieve that traf­fic lights are war­ranted and we have re­quested an ur­gent meet­ing to dis­cuss al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions, in­clud­ing a round­about or re­vert­ing to the orig­i­nal ap­proval of a chan­nelised in­ter­sec­tion,’’ Mayor Leu said.

‘‘Yes­ter­day I asked David Kemp­ton to re­quest the Min­is­ter for Trans­port and Main Roads, Scott Emer­son, to in­ter­vene on our be­half, specif­i­cally for the works to be sus­pended to al­low the new coun­cil to com­mis­sion its own in­de­pen­dent re­port by a qual­i­fied traf­fic en­gi­neer to in­ves­ti­gate al­ter­na­tives so­lu­tions and op­tions.

‘‘There is a great swell of op­po­si­tion for a num­ber of peo­ple re­sist­ing the plan for traf­fic lights and it seems ev­ery­one is try­ing to pass the buck on this. While the Wool­worths is in­creas­ing in area, we do not ex­pect a sub­stan­tial in­crease of pop­u­la­tion in Moss- man and we do not un­der­stand the need for traf­fic lights.’’

Coun­cil­lors were able to de­cide if they wanted to par­tic­i­pate in the protest and coun­cil­lor David Carey at­tended the meet­ing with a plac­ard, along with DeputyMayor Abigail Noli, who was at the protest with fam­ily.

‘‘There has been a lack of con­sul­ta­tion. If TMR came to coun­cil and proved 100 per cent that traf­fic lights are the best so­lu­tion coun­cil we could come to the pub­lic and ex­plain that while it’s not ideal for the shire it’s the best of a bad sit­u­a­tion,’’ DeputyMayor Noli said. ‘‘It’s all about be­ing trans­par­ent and this coun­cil is fo­cused on keep­ing the com­mu­nity in­formed, but how can we when they’re not be­ing trans­par­ent to us?’’

Coun­cil­lor Bruce Clarke said t he cur­rent sli­plane was ad­e­quate.

‘‘ My back­ground is in civil en­gi­neer­ing and look­ing at the in­ter­sec­tion I see no rea­son why we can’t re­vert back to the orig­i­nal plan with a wider in­ter­sec­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘Peo­ple are here protest­ing be­cause they are wor­ried about traf­fic con­ges­tion, es­pe­cially in school hours. It’s a prob­lem now and traf­fic lights might con­gest the in­ter­sec­tion fur­ther.’’

Coun­cil had post­poned devel­op­ment on Tues­day re­quest­ing ev­i­dence of veg­e­ta­tion re­moval per­mits af­ter some trees were re­moved along­side Front Street, how­ever while the protest was oc­cur­ring work had recom­menced.

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