FORUM A HEATED AFFAIR
THE Douglas community passionately defended its local marine rescue volunteers at a recent meeting in Mossman to discuss the volunteers’ break from the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association.
Boaties, former Coast Guard members and other locals gathered at the Mossman Shire Hall to ask the governing AVCGA questions about the fate of the local QF10 flotilla, which AVCGA regards as disbanded.
The hottest topics from the floor were debate of the correct ownership of assets and the fear of no active and operational marine rescue body.
North Queensland Squadron Commodore Cher Barron said “all areas are covered as far as marine rescue and safety are concerned”.
“QF 9 Cairns will cover up to Cape Tribulation and QF16 Cooktown will cover south to Cape Tribulation,” Commodore Barron said.
Members of the crowd said this was not good enough, with the two flotillas being such a distance from Port Douglas.
AVCGA claims ownership of QF10 Port Douglas Mossman’s assets while local marine rescue volunteers deem the money raised by and for QF10 and its building are “morally” owned by the local volunteers and the community.
A speaker from the floor raised a point that building was built by the “community, for the community with the community”.
He claimed the building was owned by the Douglas Shire Council and not the AVCGA.
Another audience member, is a long time skipper, said the two vessels used by QF10 were unseaworthy and unsafe.
“You can keep them,” he said to AVCGA representatives during the discussion of assets.
The AVCGA’s constitution does not permit concurrent memberships in two marine safety and rescue organisations. “The reception of a letter signed by QF 10 members motioning a transfer to Marine Rescue Queensland meant they are resigning from AVCGA,” said Commodore Barron.
“MRQ and the AVCGA have an agreement to not ‘poach’ one anothers’ members, therefore MRQ are remaining impartial.
“The reason for this meeting is to ask the people of Douglas whether they want the AVCGA to continue in their area,” she said. “There is an opportunity for Mossman Port Douglas QF10 to continue with new membership.”
Commodore Barron asked the forum, “Do you want AVCGA to continue to operate in the Douglas Shire?”
It was met with a barrage of “no’s” from the vocal crowd.
There was a strong roll up to Coast Guard meeting at Mossman Shire Hall