Fee hike de­flates Trippo

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

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

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