Chamber chief supports waterfront master plan
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.”
Helen De Ross says the Reef Marina redevelopment is a win-win for all parties.