FO­RUM A HEATED AF­FAIR

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Gizelle Ghidella

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.

Pic­ture: GIZELLE GHIDELLA

There was a strong roll up to Coast Guard meet­ing at Moss­man Shire Hall

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