Re­tire­ment village pro­posal prompts re­bukes Chal­lenge ahead for developer’s pro­posal

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

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)

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