Zam­mataro says Zone 2 croc man­age­ment needed

IT’S NOW BEEN A YEAR SINCE THE 2016 QUEENS­LAND LO­CAL GOV­ERN­MENT ELEC­TIONS. OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, GAZETTE RE­PORTER SCOTT TIB­BALLS WILL SIT DOWN WITH EACH DOU­GLAS SHIRE COUN­CIL­LOR TO TALK ABOUT THE LAST 12 MONTHS IN OF­FICE – AND ANY­THING ELSE THEY’D LIKE

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - ROY ZAM­MATARO

The first-term coun­cil­lor (and can­di­date) roared into first place in the bal­lot box last year, earn­ing 2928 votes.

“To win like that is re­ally over­whelm­ing – it gives you the sense that peo­ple re­spect your opin­ion and they want you on coun­cil be­cause they re­spect what you say,” said Roy.

It was his first run at be­ing a coun­cil­lor, and he said it was just “an­other way to give back to the com­mu­nity”.

On the cur­rent state of the coun­cil, Roy had noth­ing but praise. “It’s a re­ally ex­cit­ing time to be in coun­cil. Third year in from de-amal­ga­ma­tion, ev­ery­thing is start­ing to fall to­gether. The plan is for the coun­cil to be in sur­plus by 2020, and we’re head­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

“What we’ve got now – we have a coun­cil that are pos­i­tive about the fu­ture of the shire and the way it’s head­ing.”

Ac­cord­ing to Roy each coun­cil­lor brings some­thing dif­fer­ent to the coun­cil – and through them and the coun­cil staff he was learn­ing quickly.

There’s plenty to learn about. In the 12 months since the elec­tion the Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil has had plenty of pots on the boil, and plenty of is­sues to cover, in­clud­ing crocs.

In Au­gust Roy was on the los­ing side of a coun­cil vote to in­tro­duce a more proac­tive croc­o­dile man­age­ment ap­proach in pop­u­lar swim­ming ar­eas in rivers around Moss­man. “I think if that went to the vote again there may be a dif­fer­ent out­come. I’m spec­u­lat­ing a lit­tle here but since we had that vote a lot more is­sues that have come up, in par­tic­u­lar the tourist in­dus­try suf­fer­ing, and even more par­tic­u­larly lo­cals.”

Roy ex­plained that as a life­long lo­cal, times had changed and some­thing had to be done about the croc threat.

“They never used to come near peo­ple be­fore.

“They were well aware that they shouldn’t come near peo­ple, but they’ve been al­lowed to evolve into what they do now – they’re not scared of hu­mans any­more.

“I don’t think, I know we need to in­tro­duce Zone 2 up here so any­thing over two me­tres is re­moved. Es­pe­cially from the beaches, and par­tic­u­larly boat ramps. I think they need to be gone.”

Mem­ber for Cook Billy Gor­don and the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion’s ad­vice not to swim in the wa­ter just doesn’t cut it, said Roy.

“Peo­ple come to Four Mile Beach to swim. Any­thing that’s detri­men­tal to the tourist in­dus­try has to be ad­dressed.

“Even more im­por­tantly, tourists are here for a few months of the year, they’re our bread and but­ter – but lo­cals use the wa­ter for 12 months of the year. And it’s the lo­cals that are re­ally start­ing to com­plain, and I’m not talk­ing about lo­cals that have turned up last week I’m talk­ing about peo­ple that have been here all their lives.

“What the depart­ment says – if they re­move a croc an­other one will re­place it, well, it may even­tu­ally – but you re­move that as well.”

Crocs were well aware that they shouldn’t come near peo­ple, but they’ve been al­lowed to evolve into what they do now – they’re not scared of hu­mans any­more.

Pic­ture: SCOTT TIB­BALLS

Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil­lor Roy Zam­mataro, pic­tured near the Newell Beach Boa­tramp, where he used to swim as a child

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