THE WEST­ERN SIDE OF THE HWY MAKES GOOD SENSE

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS LOOKING BACK -

As a direc­tor of Waks De­vel­op­ments the mo­ti­va­tion for the Dou­glas Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity has been on my mind since 2007. Con­trary to what some say, this project is not about money. We have owned the land we are propos­ing to use for a con­sid­er­able time, so it is cer­tainly no ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme.

Those of you who know me know I have the Dou­glas com­mu­nity at heart as we have been part of this Shire through pros­per­ous times and tough times. We use lo­cal trades and pro­fes­sion­als wher­ever we can. We give back to the com­mu­nity in sig­nif­i­cant ways. We pay our rates on time and carry out our busi­ness ac­cord­ing to Coun­cil’s Plan­ning Scheme and in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

We didn’t sup­port de-amal­ga­ma­tion, and maybe we were wrong. Only time will tell. How­ever one would think self­de­ter­mi­na­tion should be the ma­jor ben­e­fit.

De­vel­op­ment has been op­posed on the west­ern side of the high­way for a num­ber of years. I un­der­stand and agree we shouldn’t have un­con­trolled de­vel­op­ment but - as with any­thing in life - we need to have bal­ance. We have now reached a point where it’s ap­pro­pri­ate to ques­tion the ar­gu­ment that’s been prop­a­gated over a long pe­riod of time.

Mike Ber­wick fought long and hard to main­tain bal­ance in the Shire and pre­serve the very things that make Dou­glas a suc­cess­ful tourist des­ti­na­tion and a great place to live and work.

Yet even Mike con­cedes we will need to find land that will be safe from the ris­ing sea and the in­un­da­tion that comes from our ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion.

The new Plan­ning Scheme sug­gests the west­ern side of the high­way is an area to be in­ves­ti­gated for res­i­den­tial use. (Mike did not sup­port the land that was re­zoned south of Craiglie due to ob­vi­ous nat­u­ral is­sues.)

The west­ern side makes good sense for a re­tire­ment com­mu­nity as it’s close to the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture and trans­port routes and is out of reach of the per­ils of flood­ing and ris­ing seas. In­deed, the Depart­ment of Main Roads has al­ready taken this into con­sid­er­a­tion with the fu­ture re­align­ment of Fer­rero Road.

We have of­fered to work with Coun­cil and in­ter­ested groups to pro­vide a world­class, ‘green’ com­mu­nity that will set new stan­dards for re­tire­ment liv­ing. We want to give our ac­tive and not so ac­tive re­tirees a piece of the unique Dou­glas en­vi­ron­ment to en­joy. After read­ing the com­ments in your pa­per over the last few weeks, they seem to be mainly about:

•The need to main­tain the sus­tain­able foot­print •Vis­ual im­pair­ment •Just another sub­di­vi­sion •There is plenty of zoned land avail­able

•The ‘greedy de­vel­oper’ who owns the land.

If any­one cares to view our Face­book page (www.face­book.com/ dou­glas­re­tire­ment) or web­site (www.dou­glas­re­tire­ment.com.au) they will see we have ad­dressed these and many other is­sues.

A com­mu­nity’s needs change over time. The Dou­glas Shire is no dif­fer­ent and our pro­posal needs to be con­sid­ered within a frame­work of facts and the de­sires of the res­i­dents and ratepayers. To all the hun­dreds of sup­port­ers and peo­ple who have sub­mit­ted their pos­i­tive feed­back on our pro­posal to Coun­cil, thank you. To those that haven’t and would like to see the Dou­glas Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity go ahead, you have un­til the 30th Septem­ber to let your views be known to Coun­cil.

Fi­nally, to our Coun­cil­lors: make dea­mal­ga­ma­tion worth­while - lis­ten to the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple in the Dou­glas Shire who want this to hap­pen.

Steve Thomas, Direc­tor, Waks De­vel­op­ments

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