Is the slip­way slip­ping away?

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Madi­son Wil­liams

THE boat­ing com­mu­nity has reached out to Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil in fear that the Port Dou­glas slip­way, an im­por­tant eco­nomic player, won’t re­open.

The slip­way was “tem­po­rar­ily closed” early April by its op­er­a­tors, The Reef Ma­rina (TRM), due to in­ad­e­quate man­age­ment and dis­posal of waste­water from the site.

On Wed­nes­day last week boat own­ers and busi­ness op­er­a­tors met with the mayor and coun­cil­lors at the coun­cil cham­bers to voice their con­cerns.

They told Mayor Ju­lia Leu they feared for the Port Dou­glas econ­omy if the slip­way was al­lowed to stay closed.

“The op­er­a­tors are very con­cerned they won’t be able to sur­vive a per­ma­nent clo­sure,” said Mayor Leu.

“They have al­ready de­scribed on­go­ing im­pacts of loss of sup­pli­ers and loss of ac­ces­si­bil­ity.

“The eco­nomic im­pact of the clo­sure is start­ing to be­come quite ob­vi­ous to them and they are want­ing coun­cil to step in.

“They are very con­cerned about the fu­ture of Port Dou­glas.

“If it doesn’t re­open it will be hard to main­tain a sustainable marine tourism in­dus­try.”

The meet­ing was at­tended by at least 15 peo­ple.

Coun­cil ques­tions whether TRM is in breach of its lease with the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Mines (DNRM) that stip­u­lates the slip­way must be op­er­a­tional.

“Coun­cil has asked the min­is­ter if TRM have breached the lease with the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Mines,” said Mayor Leu.

“The lease’s pur­pose granted for in­dus­trial use.

“It may be for­feited if it is not used for that pur­pose.”

Mayor Leu has vowed to take the is­sue higher to the min­is­ter of DNRM, An­thony Lyn­ham.

“The sit­u­a­tion is crit­i­cal for these op­er­a­tors,” Mayor Leu said.

“As a re­sult of the meet­ing I’m pre­par­ing a brief for the min­is­ter and re­quest­ing that he di­rect TRM to im­me­di­ately re­open the slip­way and com­ply with waste­water man­age­ment con­di­tions.

“Oth­er­wise they are clearly not com­ply­ing with the pur­pose of the lease.

“Busi­ness op­er­a­tors will also be writ­ing to the min­is­ter to demon­strate the sever­ity of the op­er­a­tional im­pact and the af­fect it is hav­ing on the lo­cal econ­omy.”

Coun­cil said that it has pro­vided TRM with three “af­ford­able” so­lu­tions to rec­tify the is­sue of waste­water re­moval.

An­drew Hooper Nguyen, a co-owner of TRM, said they are cur­rently ex­plor­ing their op­tions.

“The Reef Ma­rina takes its en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity se­ri­ously and we will not en­gage in ac­tiv­i­ties which dam­age the reef,” he said.

“We have ap­pointed an en­gi­neer to re­port on what is re­quired for the slip­way to achieve full en­vi­ron­men­tal com­pli­ance.” is

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