Croc vote re­match: DSC to mull changes

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

CROCS are back on the DSC’s meet­ing agenda, with a mo­tion to con­sider re­quest­ing changes to the Shire’s blan­ket Zone E rat­ing un­der the new croc man­age­ment plan.

“Coun­cil will con­sider whether to re­quest the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion re­clas­sify Four Mile Beach and some other parts of Dou­glas Shire as Zone B, C or D,” said Mayor Ju­lia Leu in a state­ment.

She said they would dis­cuss re­zon­ing op­tions of Four Mile Beach, boat ramps and some Moss­man fresh­wa­ter creeks and rivers.

The strength of the changes will de­pend on the fall of votes in coun­cil, with a ma­jor­ity of councillors fail­ing to sup­port a more proac­tive croc­o­dile re­moval pol­icy in fresh­wa­ter swimming ar­eas last Au­gust.

Since then, crocs have loomed large in the shire, with com­mu­nity opin­ion thor­oughly di­vided - some­thing the mayor recog­nised in her state­ment. She has now switched her po­si­tion on croc man­age­ment af­ter months of pres­sure from oper­a­tors, res­i­dents and even vis­i­tors to the shire.

“I’m now of the view­point that Four Mile Beach and pos­si­bly some boat ramps and fresh­wa­ter creeks and rivers should be re­clas­si­fied and that is what Coun­cil will be dis­cussing at our next meet­ing.

“I be­lieve it’s time to act now on Four Mile Beach to pro­tect our lo­cal tourism in­dus­try which we all de­pend on in some way and could be se­verely im­pacted if vis­i­tors felt they were no longer able to swim there be­cause of the threat of croc­o­diles.

“I’m also keen to fur­ther ex­plore any op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal in­dige­nous rangers to be in­volved in re­spond­ing to croc­o­dile man­age­ment is­sues in the Dou­glas Shire.”

The next coun­cil or­di­nary meet­ing will take place right be­fore a CrocWise round­table held in Cairns on March 30.

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Croc­o­dile in Fern­dale Lake last year

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