MARINA DEVELOPMENT WOULD BE FANTASTIC
I refer to the editorial opinion of David Kempton published in last week’s Gazette about current proposals by The Reef Marina (TRM) for redevelopment of the marina in Port Douglas.
Firstly, let me say that this project is a fantastic one for Port Douglas and one that has been anticipated for many years. In recent times I have publicly congratulated the current owners for their willingness and capacity to upgrade the marina infrastructure.
From my perspective the Council has entered into all its negotiations with TRM in good faith and with a view to facilitating achievement by TRM of its ambitions for the marina.
The Council has an overriding responsibility however to the broader community.
The community’s aspirations for the Port Douglas waterfront are clearly articulated in the Port Douglas Waterfront Master Plan (PDWMP).
An important objective of the PDWMP is “to retain key aspects of the working and heritage character of the waterfront by integrating existing maritime activity with new open space and tourism uses”.
Part of this includes retaining our fishing fleet.
Mindful of this objective, the Council has stridently supported our local fishermen to ensure that TRM’s development proposals include longterm security for our fleet.
TRM has offered to provide 16 berths for the fishing fleet at the south end of the marina adjacent to Close Haven Marina and abutting land controlled by the Council (referred to as Lot 96).
TRM’s proposal is problematic because TRM is not in a position to offer the fishermen land access at this location because TRM has no control over Lot 96.
TRM’s proposal has placed the Council in the position of having to resolve the land access the fishermen will require in order to be able to provision and unload their vessels.
Given the fishermen like the proposal put forward by TRM the Council has given its approval to taking steps to make Lot 96 available to the fishermen to provide them with the land access they will need. Without this the TRM proposal is not a workable solution.
In support of its development application (DA) for the marina upgrades, currently lodged with the Council, TRM itself suggests that making Lot 96 available to the fishermen also provides opportunity for a future commercial fishermen’s hub at Lot 96.
Last weeks criticism of the Council by Mr Kempton wherein he asserts the Council is “interfering in the freehold (of land) process in an effort to stop this very important upgrade of the marina” is totally unwarranted.
In fact it is obvious by the facts I have presented above that the Council is doing its utmost to facilitate the ambitions of TRM for the marina while at the same time seeking to secure long term tenure for our fishing fleet.
David G. Carey, Councillor, Douglas Shire Council