Cham­ber chief sup­ports wa­ter­front mas­ter plan

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Madi­son Wil­liams

HE­LEN De Ross, pres­i­dent of Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com­merce, has thrown her sup­port be­hind the con­tro­ver­sial wa­ter­front mas­ter plan for the Reef Ma­rina.

Miss De Ross con­firmed the busi­ness com­mu­nity’s back­ing of ap­proval for pre­lim­i­nary de­vel­op­ment and the wa­ter­front re­newal pro­ject.

She also spoke in favour of the Reef Ma­rina and Port Dou­glas Com­mer­cial Fish­er­man’s As­so­ci­a­tion’s joint vi­sion for a seafood fish­ing precinct.

“The iconic Reef Ma­rina is home to more than 100 busi­nesses in Port Dou­glas,” she said.

“It is clearly the nerve cen­tre for busi­ness ac­tiv­ity in Port Dou­glas, and in­deed the shire.

“Af­ter more than 10 years of ne­glect and pre­vi­ous owner’s in­ac­tion, it is re­as­sur­ing to see the vi­sion of the new own­ers — An­drew Hooper-Nguyen, Chris El­lis and Rob Cruz — ma­te­ri­alise through their re­cent mas­ter plan sub­mis­sion.

“Once im­ple­mented, the re­de­vel­op­ment will have an im­me­di­ate pos­i­tive im­pact, and will quickly re­turn the Reef Ma­rina to be­ing the cen­tral tourist desti­na­tion in Port Dou­glas.

“This will not only ben­e­fit the 100 busi­nesses based in the Reef Ma­rina, but will also mul­ti­ply the ben­e­fits through the re­main­der of the town and the shire.”

Ms De Ross wel­comed the re­cent de­ci­sion by the fish­er­men to re­lo­cate to the south­ern end of the ma­rina ad­ja­cent to Lot 96.

The Reef Ma­rina pro­poses to con­struct a ded­i­cated trawler berthing fa­cil­ity, which will be leased to the fish­er­men on a long-term ba­sis.

Th­ese berths will have a long-term lease with a com­mer­cial fish­ing caveat that is only ac­ces­si­ble by coun­cil con­trolled land.

“We feel this se­cures the ten­ure of the com­mer­cial fish­ing in­dus­try in Port Dou­glas, negat­ing the re­quire­ment for Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil to pur­chase Lot 146 at an ex­pense to the com­mu­nity,” Ms De Ross said.

“Given the se­cu­rity of the com­mer­cial fish­ing in­dus­try, we do not sup­port the un­prece­dented, forced ac­qui­si­tion of land from one busi­ness to be gifted to an­other busi­ness.

“This sets a dan­ger­ous prece­dent for other in­dus­tries ex­pect­ing the same sup­port go­ing for­ward.

“The com­mer­cial fish­ing in­dus­try will in turn seek to ac- quire or lease the land ad­ja­cent to Lot 96, and to es­tab­lish a base from which to sell fresh and cooked seafood, as well as to sup­port the trawler op­er­a­tions.

“This is a win-win for all par­ties,” Ms De Ross said.

“It seems to be the per­fect so­lu­tion to se­cure the fu­ture of the com­mer­cial fish­ing in­dus­try and, at the same time, add the seafood precinct, as yet an­other rea­son to visit Port Dou­glas and the shire.”

Pic­ture: MADI­SON WIL­LIAMS

He­len De Ross says the Reef Ma­rina re­de­vel­op­ment is a win-win for all par­ties.

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