DSSG calls for visitor river levy
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.