Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS @SCHOOL -

We all get that the ferry needs to be in­spected and that the ferry op­er­a­tor has done the right thing. We now know that the Op­er­a­tor knew about the need for an out of wa­ter in­spec­tion back on 21 March 2013. Yes, five years ago.

When did Coun­cil know? Mayor Ju­lia Leu now says she knew only on 18 De­cem­ber 2017.

Coun­cil, there­fore, sat on the mat­ter for at least six weeks be­fore they un­veiled their se­cret ferry clo­sure “plan”.

The se­crecy was ma­li­cious in its de­lib­er­ate­ness, the­atri­cal in its ab­sur­dity, and dis­as­trous in its strate­gies.

How can Coun­cil de­velop a plan for the com­mu­nity with­out in­volv­ing the com­mu­nity it­self?

The plan also ig­nores Coun­cil’s re­cent Q So­lu­tions Re­port that a re­place­ment ferry should be “source­able” within three days. Coun­cil was, how­ever, ea­ger to take up another as­pect of the Re­port, that $4 mil­lion col­lected over the years by ferry trav­ellers be kept aside as an Emer­gency Fund.

Coun­cil should act on the Q Solution re­port, es­pe­cially con­cern­ing the con­di­tions of ferry con­tract. They must spend a lit­tle of the $4 mil­lion Emer­gency Fund for the very pur­pose it was set up to re­solve.

While we are now brac­ing for a pos­si­ble nat­u­ral dis­as­ter, we have been gifted a Coun­cil-Cre­ated Dis­as­ter, with ar­guably worse con­se­quences.

A com­mu­nity meet­ing on Sun­day night pro­posed a set of so­lu­tions, in­clud­ing that Coun­cil im­me­di­ately join with the com­mu­nity in some longneeded joint plan­ning. This process would look at the cur­rent cri­sis plus longer term needs, such as the se­cond ferry and in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment. We hope it would lead to a barge be­ing avail­able to take im­por­tant ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic dur­ing the five days of clo­sure.

In the longer term, cul­ture change is needed. Change is dif­fi­cult, but the first step is to ac­cept that we must change. Our com­mu­nity is will­ing to work with Coun­cil to help bring about that change.

Mike and Tr­ish D’Arcy, Dain­tree

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