Ma­rina chief at­tacks coun­cil over trawlers

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

THE man­age­ment of the Reef Ma­rina in Port Dou­glas has la­belled Dou­glas Shire un­rea­son­able over the coun­cil’s pro­pos­als for the re­lo­ca­tion of the fish­ing fleet.

Di­rec­tor An­drew Hoop­erNguyen said this week it is re­gret­table that “Coun­cil now pro­poses the ma­rina pay to con­struct the trawler berthing fa­cil­ity and then – to­gether with the sur­round­ing ma­rina basin – at no cost to the Coun­cil and/or fish­ing in­dus­try. This is not a rea­son­able pro­posal.

“Not­with­stand­ing the im­por­tance of the fish­ing in­dus­try, it is not the Coun­cil’s role to use ratepay­ers’ money to sub­sidise pri­vate fish­ing busi­nesses; nor to com­pel the ma­rina to sub­sidise pri­vate fish­ing busi­nesses.

The Coun­cil­lors’ heavy­handed ap­proach risks fur­ther dam­ag­ing al­ready-frag­ile busi­ness con­fi­dence within the Dou­glas Shire.”

Mr Hooper-Nguyen said the Reef Ma­rina’s wa­ter­front mas­ter­plan, which is cur­rently be­fore Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil, had “been de­vel­oped af­ter ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion with the fish­ing in­dus­try and other stake­hold­ers.

“To ac­com­mo­date trawler cus­tomers, the ma­rina has of­fered var­i­ous al­ter­na­tives: – re- main in the cur­rent lo­ca­tion on Dickson In­let; re­lo­cate to the Duck Pond ad­ja­cent to the pro­posed Pub­lic Plaza; or re­lo­cate to the south­ern end of the ma­rina basin and part­ner in the de­vel­op­ment of a new ‘Seafood & Fish­ing Precinct’.

The precinct will fea­ture the sale of fresh and cooked seafood to lo­cals and vis­i­tors, and the con­struc­tion of a ded­i­cated trawler berthing fa­cil­ity, Mr Hooper-Nguyen said.

“It will be a tourism draw­card for Port Dou­glas and pro­mote growth of the lo­cal fish­ing in­dus­try. Un­der the pro­posal, the ma­rina will con­struct a ded­i­cated trawler berthing fa­cil­ity which will be leased to the fish­er­men on a long-term ba­sis.

“The fish­ing in­dus­try will seek to pro­cure the ad­ja­cent land (Lot 96) from which to sell fresh and cooked seafood and to sup­port trawler op­er­a­tions. This land is cur­rently con­trolled by Coun­cil.

“Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the fish­ing in­dus­try, at a meet­ing in Novem­ber, unan­i­mously re­solved that the Seafood & Fish­ing Precinct would be in the in­dus­try’s best in­ter­ests.

“To progress the Precinct, the ma­rina stands ready and will­ing to con­struct the trawler berthing fa­cil­ity and to lease it long-term to the fish­ing in­dus­try on favourable com­mer­cial terms. This com­mit­ment is in­de­pen­dent of the wa­ter­front re­newal pro­ject and will also be the cat­a­lyst for The Reef Ma­rina’s stage 2 ex­pan­sion.

“The Coun­cil has a vi­tal role to play in se­cur­ing the land for the fish­ing in­dus­try.

The Reef Ma­rina is com­mit­ted to the preser­va­tion and growth of the fish­ing in­dus­try and be­lieves a pri­vately funded and com­mer­cially vi­able Seafood & Fish­ing Precinct is the best way to achieve this im­por­tant goal.

“Un­til it is re­alised, the ma­rina’s trawler cus­tomers are in­vited to re­main within the ex­ist­ing ma­rina berthing fa­cil­i­ties.”

Lots to talk about: Lot 96 is marked by a blue bor­der and the part of Lot 146 that might be ac­quired by coun­cil is bor­dered in red, mark­ing a po­ten­tial home for the fleet

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