Retirement village proposal prompts rebukes Challenge ahead for developer’s proposal
A push by a local developer to have land west of the Captain Cook Hwy rezoned to allow for a retirement village project is already up against council opposition, with three councillors opposing and only one in support.
The mooted ‘Douglas Retirement Community’ on Ferrero Rd is the brainchild of Steve Thomas, who owns the land the development would be built on as well as multiple other properties in the area.
Mr Thomas told the that since he launched a campaign to have the Draft Planning Scheme amended to allow for the development, he’d been getting plenty of community support.
“The response has been overwhelming,” claimed Mr Thomas.
“For one negative comment I’d be getting 50 positive ones.
“I’ve been here for 20 years and worked on all sorts of projects in Port Douglas – this is the most support I’ve ever had.”
Part of Mr Thomas’ campaign includes encouraging residents to submit a ‘letter of support’ (provided on his website) to council which details his justification for the project.
Mr Thomas said the letter had been downloaded from his site hundreds of times.
The approached all councillors to find out their stance on the proposal to rezone the land for the retirement village. The requests revealed that Mr Thomas has one friend on council, with Michael Kerr throwing his full weight behind the proposal.
Writing in a lengthy post to his website, Cr Kerr highlights the need to discuss the location of the village now – with the window of opportunity for submissions on the Draft Planning Scheme closing soon.
According to Cr Kerr, the proposed location on Ferrero Rd is ideal. “The location of the proposed Retirement Village is private land that has been cleared for many years, there has been no agriculture or farming on this site during this time and it currently has a residential property centred on it
which will become the main hub of the retirement village if the development is able to go ahead,” he said.
“For me I believe this location is in fact the best one for a retirement village for Port Douglas.”
Mr Thomas also has the backing of the Douglas Chamber of Commerce, with chamber president Helen De Ross saying at a quarterly networking function that the chamber would be making a submission supporting the development.
“The community has grown, and it’s important for us to grow with it,” said Ms De Ross. Speaking to the later, Ms De Ross questioned the taboo of allowing reasonable development to the west of the highway.
“What I can’t understand is on one side of the highway we can’t have nice townhouses with sustainable energy and water that are well maintained and with parklands, but on the other side we have a shooting range, a tip and an airstrip.”
The proposed retirement community site off Ferrero Rd (bordered in yellow)