DSSG calls for vis­i­tor river levy

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Gizelle Ghidella

DOU­GLAS Shire Sus­tain­abil­ity Group wants Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil to con­sider a vis­i­tor levy for those trav­el­ling over the river.

In re­sponse to coun­cil’s call for sub­mis­sions re­gard­ing the Dain­tree Ferry con­tract re­newal, DSSG said a vis­i­tor levy among other ideas would be a great ben­e­fit to the com­mu­nity, con­ser­va­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion of the pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion.

For­mer Dou­glas Shire Mayor and spokesman for DSSG, Mike Ber­wick said the idea has been wel­comed be­fore.

“Con­cerns by busi­nesses that it would turn peo­ple away have proven false as the cost has in­creased well be­yond the com­bined charge and levy at the time and num­bers have con­tin­ued to in­crease,” Mr Ber­wick said.

“We pro­pose the Dain­tree Coast com­mu­nity be charged with ad­vis­ing how the com­mu­nity money be spent.

“This is about em­pow­er­ing the com­mu­nity – they might want a com­mu­nity hall or a li­brary …”

DSSG has also sug­gested pri­or­ity lanes both ways for lo­cals, a shut­tle bus ser­vice to Cape Tribu­la­tion, the de­vel­op­ment of the Gate­way to in­clude a cof­fee shop and in­ter­pre­ta­tive cen­tre and a book­ing sys­tem for vis­i­tors at peak times.

“This is how we could bet­ter man­age the ferry, we can keep it as an at­trac­tion and a limit on the amount of traf­fic that goes over the river and these ideas will also sup­port busi­nesses, the com­mu­nity and the en­vi­ron­ment,” Mr Ber­wick said.

He said if changes aren’t made, “we will end up with a bridge and a high­way, threat­en­ing both the en­vi­ron­ment and pre­sen­ta­tion, ul­ti­mately ru­in­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We’re in­ter­ested in what the com­mu­nity thinks of our ideas.”

DSSG said two fer­ries would re­lieve con­ges­tion but they we’re op­posed to the idea of a bridge.

Sub­mis­sions closed on Septem­ber 30, but con­sul­ta­tion is on­go­ing.

Coun­cil plan to hold a pub­lic meet­ing at a lo­ca­tion north of the Dain­tree River and present feed­back at the end of this month.

Coun­cil’s CEO Mark Sto­er­mer will also be meet­ing with sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als in the lead up to this meet­ing.

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