Fee hike deflates Trippo
GIANT waterslide Trippo’s operator is ruing his trip to Port Douglas to run the operation this year, following Douglas Shire Council’s massive hike in his site fee.
Neil Fox says he will run the Trippo in the July holidays, but with higher ticket prices and it will be the last visit to Port Douglas.
He says that just as he was entering the payment stage with council for the upcoming visit to Port this year he discovered the fee for his use of Reynolds Park had risen from $600 to nearly $6000 (and a bond of $4000).
Mr Fox and his brother have brought Trippo, the massive inflatable waterslide, to Port Douglas for the past couple of years, operating it in the July and September holidays. “We’re just a small, family business.
“I’ve done all my bookings, I’ve forgone other places we could have gone to. We have committed to Port Douglas.” The slide has been popular. “It’s been going really well,” he said.
“It’s been well received by tourists and locals alike.”
A statement from DSC said that in previous years Reynolds Park had not been subject to a schedule of fees and charges. Now that such a schedule has been adopted by council, the fee hike was needed to bring it into alignment with an appropriate amount. “Other parks already had this type of fee structure in place,” a council statement said.
“It is acknowledged that this activity provides an alternative entertainment option in the Shire however this is a commercial operator from outside the Shire utilising a community asset and the community would have an expectation that Council would obtain an appropriate level of recompense for hire, water usage and any damage incurred.”
Nor had the operator been charged for water usage in previous years.
Mr Fox told the that “The justification from council for the fee rise is that it’s just the ticket price of 11 sliders per day [for the holiday period] to cover the council fee.”
But this didn’t reflect the average ticket price – because there are discounted family tickets and so on – nor the costs of transporting and setting up. “They’ve got no clue about how much it costs to move a container from Victoria, via rail, then from Cairns to Port Douglas.”
Ed Sullivan enjoyed a beer at the Cow Bay Hotel