COMMUNITY GARDEN FUND HELD IN TRUST
Last week’s Gazette identified a new project, the Douglas Street Arts Group. This group have approached the Port Douglas Community Services Network (PDCSN) Inc requesting funding to assist with the mural project to beautify the Douglas region.
PDCSN Inc has been holding funds in a community garden account on behalf of the community for a few years now.
Due to numerous circumstances the PDCSN was unable to continue this project to its completion and as such held the funding until such time as another organisation could either continue with a community garden or similar venture.
While the PDCSN do not object to the proposal by the Douglas Street Art Group we feel it is not our entitlement to make this decision as we have only been holding the funding in trust for the community. We wish to offer the community an opportunity to support the funding to be allocated to this project.
A number of the organisations who donated money to the community garden have supported the use of this funding for the Douglas arts project.
If there are no objections we will ensure the funding is transferred accordingly to the Douglas Street Art group. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require further information or if you wish to state an opinion/ support or objection; email@example.com by Friday 11th November.
Siobhan Delgado, manager, Port Douglas Neighbourhood Centre
At that time, the NT Government introduced a crocodile management program.
Over the years, this has become quite sophisticated and it is well explained on this website: https://nt.gov.au/ emergency/community-safety/crocodilecapture-and-management/areasmanaged
In the NT program, when crocodiles pose a threat to humans, they are usually trapped and either relocated to a crocodile farm or destroyed. Trapping and release in another area is deemed not useful due to crocodiles’ well known ability to travel long distances to return to their home habitat.
The NT program includes a well-used online system for the public to notify the government of crocodile sightings. The department then assesses the risk of each sighting and posts its intended and completed actions.
Two hundred and ninety crocodiles were removed in 2015 and a crocodile products business is developing: http:// www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-03/ boost-to-croc-industry-as-croc-capturenumbers-released-nt/7065022
It is clear Queensland trails the NT in crocodile risk management. In the current Queensland system, the EHP website nominates “Crocodile Urban Management Areas” for Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Cairns, Cassowary Coast and Hinchinbrook. Each of these nominates three zones:
Zone 1: prevent crocodiles entering the area and remove any that do
Zone 2: remove crocodiles of over two metres in length or that show aggressive tendencies Zone 3: remove crocodiles of concern By default, Douglas Shire is entirely Zone 3.
The EHP’s “Crocwatch” system allows notification of sightings and these are sub classified into “confirmed” and “unconfirmed”.
See: https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/ wildlife/livingwith/crocodiles/crocwatch/ index.html
In 2015 and 2016 combined, only two crocodiles have been removed under the program: one in the Townsville Marina (October 2016) and another in the Mary River (June 2015).
In 2016, Douglas Shire notifications of sightings have been posted for Wonga Beach, Cape Tribulation, Thala Beach, Noah Beach (Bloomfield), Four Mile Beach, Mirage Golf Course and the Mossman River.
In most cases, the EHP response is to say a site survey was undertaken and recent sighting signs deployed. In particular, the response to the August 2016 sighting on Four Mile Beach was to notify the Surf Lifesaving Club to close the beach and to deploy recent sighting signs.
We hope the Queensland Government’s review of crocodile management continues the concept of “zones” but with refreshed, and researchbased, definitions. To us, the current definitions have weaknesses:
• Zone 1: is it really possible to prevent crocodiles entering an area?
• Zone 2: is there research to show that two metres is a critical length? What is the definition of “aggressive tendencies?”
• Zone 3: What defines a “crocodile of concern?”
We also applaud and support the concept of EHP employing indigenous rangers to assist with the implementation of the revised system. This is very practical as EHP does not have the man/ woman power located within Douglas Shire to do this.
Clearly crocodile numbers are increasing in the Douglas Shire. Booming tourism with many swimmers requires an enhanced risk-management plan – both protect human life and protect the area’s reputation as a wonderful and safe tourist destination.
If the current zoning system is maintained, we recommend that Crocodile Urban Management Areas (including Zones 1 and 2) be established in the Douglas Shire.
We imagine that settings such as Four Mile, Newell and Wonga beaches being classified as Zone 1, Dickson’s inlet either Zone 2 or 3, and the Daintree River remaining Zone 3 might eventuate.
We believe that community consultation during the defining of these zones will encourage community buy-in to the process.
We also suggest the council begin an awareness program to encourage the use of the EHP department’s notification system.
This will provide substance and details for these discussions.
Dr Doug & Jude Quarry, Port Douglas