Sugar, that’s a lot of cash SHANE NI­CHOLS

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Visi­tors to town ad­mire the Sugar Wharf, with its new roof gleam­ing in the morn­ing sun as rain ap­proached last Sun­day

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