Councillor keen to get more done
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.”
Douglas Shire councillor Michael Kerr on Macrossan St