LNP CANDIDATE WEIGHS IN ON POWER OVER THE RIVER
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