Croc vote rematch: DSC to mull changes
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.
Crocodile in Ferndale Lake last year