Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - OPINION -

The long term con­se­quences, if the so called “re­tire­ment village” near Port is ap­proved, would be dis­as­trous.

The fixed ur­ban foot­print has kept de­vel­op­ment out of the ru­ral land­scape, main­tained the beauty of the shire and al­lowed ef­fi­cient ser­vice pro­vi­sion, keep­ing the pres­sure off rates.

It is vi­tal for the fu­ture of agri­cul­ture and avoids the need for a new wa­ter sup­ply like a dam on the Dain­tree, Moss­man or Mow­bray rivers.

It’s not that one de­vel­op­ment will bring down the whole show but once the ur­ban foot­print is breached it sets a ter­ri­ble prece­dent.

When Dou­glas was part of Cairns there was a flurry of de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions out­side the ur­ban foot­print in dif­fer­ent parts of the shire and it is thanks to the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of one Cairns plan­ner, now work­ing for Dou­glas, who did not bow to po­lit­i­cal pres­sure, that pre­vented the plan­ning scheme from be­ing gut­ted.

That’s why a developer-led lobby fought against de-amal­ga­ma­tion.

Dou­glas is a beau­ti­ful shire, in part be­cause de­vel­op­ment is con­strained to a tight ur­ban foot­print.

The fail­ure of other coun­cils to prop­erly con­trol de­vel­op­ment will help Dou­glas main­tain its edge in tourism, en­sure a fu­ture for agri­cul­ture and keep it a beau­ti­ful place to live.

There is one rea­son that may jus­tify a change to the ur­ban foot­print and that is cli­mate change forc­ing a re­treat to higher ground from the coast as sea level rises, storm surges be­come more fre­quent and the shore­line ad­vances in­land.

That will come slowly al­low­ing time for con­sid­ered plan­ning and was the sole rea­son for al­lo­cat­ing an “in­ves­ti­ga­tion area” out­side the cur­rent foot­print.

That in­ves­ti­ga­tion area should be re­moved in the new plan­ning scheme and de­vel­op­ment in it re­fused, in favour of a longer term, care­fully planned cli­mate adap­ta­tion strat­egy for the sin­gle pur­pose of of­fer­ing higher land to those in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties dis­placed by the in­evitable sea level rise, storm surges and shore­line ero­sion.

Mike Berwick, Dain­tree


It would ap­pear that about 150 small house lots are to be cre­ated on Steve Thomas’s land at the cor­ner of Fer­rero Road on the west­ern side of the Cook High­way.

I be­lieve that, con­trary to Steve’s ads, the land can­not be re­zoned just for a re­tire­ment village, but it must be re­zoned Res­i­den­tial, which would open the door to full-scale de­vel­op­ment of all the other land along the west­ern side of the high­way.

Then, in­stead of driv­ing through open land, which is so ap­pre­ci­ated by tourists, the ap­proach to Port Dou­glas would be past houses, sim­i­lar to driv­ing into Smith­field.

And, of course, there would need to be yet an­other round­about to cope with the ex­tra cars.

Our Plan­ning Scheme has never ad­vo­cated de­vel­op­ment on the west­ern side of the high­way, which is why the land is zoned for larger lots.

A Re­tire­ment Village is not a bad idea, but this one would be on the wrong site. Steve needs to find an­other place which al­ready has the cor­rect zon­ing for his project.

I urge ev­ery­body to write a sub­mis­sion to the Coun­cil be­fore Septem­ber 30, rec­om­mend­ing that they main­tain the cur­rent zon­ing of his land.

Pam Wil­lis Bur­den, Shan­non­vale

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