Coun­cil­lor keen to get more done

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

FOR coun­cil­lor Michael Kerr the big­gest learn­ing curve was more of a re­al­ity check, when the red tape and state over­sight of lo­cal mat­ters be­gan to frus­trate his ef­forts to get what he said were the sim­plest things done.

“To me, they are things that your lo­cal com­mu­nity would be ex­pect­ing that your lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives would han­dle, not peo­ple from Bris­bane,” said Michael.

He ex­plained that with tourism on a high, it was only fit­ting that in­fra­struc­ture should get plenty of at­ten­tion as well – such as Macrossan St.

“Macrossan St is a clas­sic ex­am­ple. Macrossan St is a state road. Any ma­jor works to be done to Macrossan St are go­ing to have to be a state ap­proved and funded project,” said Michael.

“We are hav­ing dis­cus­sions about clean­ing up Macrossan St. It’s tired; it hasn’t been prop­erly looked at for a pe­riod of time. I think to keep up with the tourism it’s some­thing that cer­tainly needs to be rec­ti­fied.”

Michael be­lieves that dur­back ing Dou­glas’s time with the Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil Macrossan St was just an­other thing that was ne­glected – and it’s time to play catch-up.

He said un­der the cur­rent pro­cesses, to re­de­velop Macrossan St re­quired too many un­nec­es­sary steps, from plans to con­sul­ta­tion, to ap­pli­ca­tions to wait­ing for Bris­bane’s goa­head.

“I don’t be­lieve Port Dou­glas wants a ma­jor trans­for­ma­tion on Macrossan St. It’s not bro­ken, it just needs a good tidy.”

To­gether with the lack­lus­tre Port Dou­glas Cook Hwy roundabout (done by the state) and the lack of head­way on a chil­dren’s cross­ing near the Wildlife Habi­tat (stonewalled by the state), Michael said it was “frus­trat­ing – and don’t get me stared on Paws and Claws.

“I think the gen­eral pub­lic would be as­ton­ished if they knew how much things are out of our hands.”

In get­ting the Dou­glas Shire through dea­mal­ga­ma­tion, Michael said tht he wouldn’t have any op­po­si­tion to go­ing back the other way to solve prob­lems with red tape.

“Abol­ish State Gov­ern­ment – we don’t need it.

“They’re on a very dif­fer­ent train of thought to a re­gional area as far north as we are.”

But he was pos­i­tive about the fu­ture of the shire, echo­ing com­ments from other coun­cil­lors that the vibe of coun­cil was more pos­i­tive, and more was get­ting done. The good work­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween coun­cil­lors was “cre­at­ing the foot­ing for a pos­i­tive next three years”.

Some­thing he’s so far proven to be go­ing against the coun­cil’s ma­jor­ity on is the pro­posed retirement vil­lage at Craiglie – some­thing he will be “heav­ily be ad­vo­cat­ing”.

“I be­lieve there is large com­mu­nity sup­port for it and that it’s un­fair that we still have res­i­dents that have lived here all their lives be­ing forced to move away be­cause they don’t have this op­tion.”

As an ex­am­ple, he talked about a long-time el­derly res­i­dents who wanted to down­size, but couldn’t find an ap­pro­pri­ate home for her needs.

“So her kids are telling her she has to move down south with them – and she doesn’t want to, she’s lived here for 30 years, this is her home.”

Picture: SCOTT TIB­BALLS

Dou­glas Shire coun­cil­lor Michael Kerr on Macrossan St

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