Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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