Sugar, that’s a lot of cash SHANE NICHOLS
DOUGLAS Shire Council loves the Sugar Wharf, and we all should.
The landmark structure at the mouth of Dickson Inlet is one of the hardest working assets that the shire owns, pulling a whopping $15 million into the shire in the past 13 months.
To put that into perspective, the current annual budget of the DSC is around $40 million.
Put simply, the shire is hitched to weddings. Since January 1, 2016, Council has taken more than 270 bookings for the Sugar Wharf and the majority was for weddings.
According to DSC, around three-quarters of these wedding groups come from outside Douglas Shire.
With each wedding or corporate event at the Sugar Wharf contributing close to $60,000 to the local economy on average, and with many of these wedding parties or corporate groups choosing Port Douglas as the location based purely on the Sugar Wharf as their venue of choice, the heritage building’s value to our local economy is huge.
The average wedding group is 60 people, staying four days and spending $240 a day on food, accommodation and tours.
Council is putting new Department of Environment and Heritage-approved heritage roofing on the Sugar Wharf, at a cost of $70,000, as part of its ongoing upgrades to ensure the venue remains functional.
Other improvements Council has carried out in the past couple of years include refurbishing all the steelwork, pylons and decking as well as heritage painting.
“Because it is so valuable to our local economy, Council also only charges a minimum hire fee for use of the building so it is more accessible and our local businesses can derive greater benefits from its use,” a council spokesperson said.
Visitors to town admire the Sugar Wharf, with its new roof gleaming in the morning sun as rain approached last Sunday