Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

Lo­cal res­i­dents and busi­nesses north of the Dain­tree River de­serve af­ford­able and re­li­able power.

I have been meet­ing and lis­ten­ing to lo­cals who have been rais­ing this is­sue for decades, who have hit their heads against brick walls and been blocked at ev­ery turn, de­spite prom­ises over the years to de­liver an ac­cept­able so­lu­tion.

These peo­ple have worked tire­lessly to re­search and present work­able ways to pro­vide power that is re­li­able, af­ford­able and ap­pro­pri­ate for the re­mote lo­ca­tions of their homes and busi­nesses.

It is not an is­sue that can be left un­re­solved any longer and I am com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity to high­light this com­mu­nity harm­ing is­sue within State and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments.

I have been dis­cussing this with my State col­leagues and Fed­eral coun­ter­parts who are work­ing to cre­ate an ac­cept­able res­o­lu­tion to the on­go­ing is­sue of power on the north side of the Dain­tree River.

Af­ford­able and re­li­able power is es­sen­tial for ev­ery home, school and busi­ness in each and ev­ery com­mu­nity across the en­tire Cook elec­torate.

I am also work­ing on a strat­egy to re­duce elec­tric­ity costs to ir­ri­ga­tors of the Cook Elec­torate. Watch this space.

Penny John­son, LNP Can­di­date for Cook

It is great that it is so busy. After a lack­lus­tre cou­ple of sea­sons with road­works and trucks in­ter­fer­ing with visi­tors, we have had a crack­ing sea­son and it is still go­ing.

But I am wor­ried. I keep all my old emails, and not since 2003 have I lost any. A search of these in­di­cates that ferry queues were an is­sue back then, in 2003. Dain­tree Coast Tourism was con­cerned then and was work­ing with the Mayor to find a so­lu­tion. The var­i­ous‘so­lu­tions’ have been slow to ap­pear.

* We did get a big­ger ferry, how­ever for most of its life, tick­et­ing did not al­low for EFTPOS, and EFTPOS is still not avail­able out­side busi­ness hours i.e. on the ferry. DSC re­sisted this with all their re­sources for years.

* So se­cre­tive was the ferry ten­der process that NO­BODY knew it was for 15 years, not 10. Even at the Dain­tree Fo­rum in the year the last term was rolled over, Coun­cil­lors and staff let us be­lieve we had a chance for changes.

* Ticket booths were placed too close to the ferry and thus a full ferry can­not be tick­eted

* Even these booths have been closed early, re­quir­ing the ferry to stop mid-river to al­low tick­et­ing in mid-July. (per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence)

* No at­tempt has been made to move the booths or add a lane to al­low lo­cals ac­cess to their lane legally; the best DSC came up with was a bar­rier.

* The ferry moves at a ridicu­lously slow pace most of the time, an­donly once have I seen it speed back across the river, and that was last week, per­haps be­cause of the num­ber of irate peo­ple wait­ing north­side.

* To this day visi­tors get noth­ing other than the jour­ney from DSC, no map, no in­for­ma­tion, noth­ing.

* In hot weather, we have to boil while the ferry am­bles across the river. TOURISTS, in buses with no slid­ing win­dows are MUCH worse off

Now we have a new ten­der process which is due to be­gin soon one would hope, fer­ries take time to build, and fi­nance is not easy to get. I am very wor­ried.

1. We need two, new, fast fer­ries that are ca­pa­ble of mov­ing the re­quired traf­fic. One ferry could have down­time in the Wet and also be a re­serve.

2. We need up­grades to the road on both sides to al­low lo­cals ac­cess and so that po­lice can’t just sit there and pick off un­for­tu­nate mo­torists (no, I have not been booked) 3. We need on­line tick­et­ing 4. We need tick­ets to be able to be sold by lo­cal busi­nesses

5. I ac­knowl­edge DSC’s move to ticket ma­chines and hope these are not sit­u­ated in the queue, but well away, so peo­ple don’t clog the road try­ing to use them. I know it seems pa­tro­n­is­ing to as­sume DSC staff won’t get it right, but after 15 years of this prob­lem, I feel my views are jus­ti­fied.

6. The DSC should pro­vide an in­for­ma­tion pack to each pur­chaser

7. We need GPS mon­i­tor­ing of the ferry so speeds can be mon­i­tored and­logged. The new con­tract could in­clude penal­ties for slow trips.

8. We need to do what­ever is needed so air­con can stay ion in hot weather. If it can’t, build a bridge. You guys are al­ready work­ing on this right?

9. The new fer­ries need proper gates that pop up from un­der deck so no­body can pos­si­bly drive off midriver.

10. We need new fer­ries with ifeboats, so fuel etc can travel with cars.

The com­mu­nity has al­ready sounded out the Har­bour­mas­ter re this is­sue, he won’t change the fuel rule un­less pas­sen­gers have some­where to es­cape a prob­lem.

Have DSC staff been to see him? Have you al­ready got some plans for the ten­der doc­u­ment, so we don’t have to watch Mara­nos go over alone? You are work­ing on this, right?

11. Coun­cil could pur­chase the lot on the north­side that is for sale and use that to solve is­sues there.

DSC needs to come up with an in­te­grated plan for the con­tin­ued op­er­a­tion of the ferry.

It is im­per­a­tive that DSC en­gage the wider com­mu­nity if the in­ten­tion is re­tain the ferry.


Peo­ple get out of their ve­hi­cles to wait for the ferry on the north­ern bank

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