FOR OR AGAINST: WHAT THE OTHER COUNCILLORS SAY
JULIA LEU: Once major residential is permitted on the western side of the highway in one location, it may open the door to similar developments regardless of whether Council supports further development in this location or not. . . . . The Proposed Planning Scheme considers the entire Douglas Shire footprint as a homogenous planning area and does not consider the needs of one community over another, rather it proposes solutions that benefit and complement the whole Shire. Independent living for sea-changers and retirees in Mossman for instance offers the same opportunities as independent living on the outskirts of Port Douglas. It is closer to medical facilities and government services, a similar distance from the beach and only 10 minutes drive from Port Douglas. ABIGAIL NOLI: Council hasn’t fully explored everything, so I have yet to decide what I believe is the best course of action. The challenge in deciding about this proposal is to understand the relationships between the three factors that I am obliged to equally balance when in consideration. The economy – Retirement villages in other parts of Australia are not the bringers of economic development that promoters want you to believe. RVs actually artificially force house prices up and squeeze out families trying to buy. Owners of retirement village houses also tend not to live in their houses all year so they don’t actually spend a lot of money in the shire. The environment – Is this the best and only site when considering the total of the environmental factors. Is high density housing in that area suitable, desirable or even necessary? Social objectives – Research has shown segregated living is not favoured to promote good communities. Are there other social objectives to be explored? DAVID CAREY: It goes against the principles of the fixed urban footprint, which recognises important limitations on vital infrastructure. The Ferrero road development proposes in excess of 150 allotments in the first stage with the possibility of a second stage proposing at least that. That is essentially the equivalent of another town. My understanding also is that the Council cannot rezone the site for “retirement village”. This is not a legitimate zone description. It would have to be zoned “residential” which means any type of conforming residential development could go there. ROY ZAMMATARO: I’m not in support of it. It’s subdivision by another name. The urban footprint is there as part of the town plan, and it was put in place for a reason. I’m in support of keeping the tourism and agricultural industries strong, and subdividing rural land is certainly not going to help. There is plenty of room elsewhere in the shire for that developer to build. Once you approve that type of subdivison on that side of the highway, it opens up a can of worms. I’ve stipulated all along (and during the election) that I would support the urban footprint. I don’t believe we should have an area where just older people can live. I don’t think that older people want to live with just older people.