Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - OPINION -

WHY does Dou­glas shire need a $200 mil­lion ma­rina ho­tel com­plex?

Be­cause it is sin­gu­larly the most sig­nif­i­cant tourism project to be of­fered since the 1980s Mi­rage era. It is pred­i­cated on an ini­tia­tive to fur­ther el­e­vate the shire as a ma­jor qual­ity global and do­mes­tic eco tourism des­ti­na­tion with world-class in­fra­struc­ture.

And be­cause pre and post dea­mal­ga­ma­tion of the coun­cil there ap­pears to have been a dis­lo­ca­tion of the con­ti­nu­ity of strate­gic plan­ning in all aspects of ba­sic eco­nomic growth and devel­op­ment. As a con­se­quence the health of our lo­cal econ­omy has plum­meted.

As a com­mu­nity we em­braced the dea­mal­ga­ma­tion from Cairns five years ago to get more con­trol of our des­tiny back into the com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly tourism, which is the main­stream of our lo­cal econ­omy. This does not ap­pear to be work­ing as we en­vis­aged. The lat­est eco­nomic score­card shows we have some very se­ri­ous is­sues to ad­dress.

The ma­rina project has the po­ten­tial to restart our ail­ing econ­omy and get the coun­cil’s eco­nomic score­card back on track. In mag­ni­tude it sin­gu­larly is 140 per cent greater than the col­lec­tive to­tal of all shire build­ing ap­provals since 2014.

Come elec­tion time coun­cil­lors will un­doubt­edly be asked to ex­plain their ne­glect of shire’s eco­nomic score­card and jus­tify their ac­tions and out­line re­me­dial plans to re­store eco­nomic growth and fu­ture em­ploy­ment and fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity for our elec­torate. If the Ma­rina Com­plex is not fast-tracked and ap­proved, what is Plan B? Sus­tain­abil­ity agen­das are im­por­tant to pro­tect our fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, but they are sub­jec­tive and based on per­sonal feel­ings and opin­ions. Per­sonal feel­ings and opin­ions do not cre­ate jobs and put food in the mouths of our chil­dren. Sound eco­nomic man­age­ment does.

REUB HAYES, Four Mile Beach.

FOR the past two months, the team at Port Dou­glas Livelife Phar­ma­cies have been busy rais­ing money for Buy a Bale which sup­ports the drought af­fected farm­ers across the coun­try.

A very big thank you to all the com­mu­nity who do­nated much needed funds to this worth­while cause.

With your help, the phar­ma­cies have been able to raise more than $5600. The gen­eros­ity in this town con­tin­ues to amaze, with some of the dona­tions truly hum­bling.

Well done to the team who never

the July rock­slide, then a few very dry months. Now this pro­longed heat­wave.

Dain­tree coast res­i­dents are cart­ing in wa­ter and curs­ing the lack of air­con. A few god­less types have even been seen on their knees, mut­ter­ing strange im­pre­ca­tions. Ex­haus­tion does strange things.

Spi­ders have taken over the rain gauges, birds are nest­ing anx­iously, as their over­head pro­tec­tion thins out. We’ve had sad re­ports of dis­tressed cas­sowaries and dogs. It’s not just the fruit bats. But to see any plant or an­i­mal suf­fer­ing is dis­tress­ing. It’s one of our needed an ex­cuse to dress up for a good cause. We prom­ise to play sig­nif­i­cantly less coun­try mu­sic from now on.

BRAD REILLY, LiveLife Phar­ma­cies Port Dou­glas.

defin­ing hu­man qual­i­ties. Gravel roads are lay­er­ing a chok­ing dust cover over plants. Veg­etable gar­dens and road­side plants seem to be do­ing poorly and in many cases dy­ing. Leaf loss in trees every­where is sub­stan­tial.

Yet, through all of this the creeks on Cape Tribu­la­tion Rd are run­ning. Still pretty, still giv­ing life, still feed­ing the Coral Sea and reefs. For good­ness sake, we’re a trop­i­cal rain­for­est. There’s sup­posed to be rain every month (which there has been ac­tu­ally, just less than most years). And we can’t blame Thorn­tons’ rock­slide.

This week, I thought I’d lis­ten to a few relic sur­vivors. All of these are ferns which go back around 300 mil­lion years, give or take a few. Tree ferns are wide­spread and easy to spot. Large flat bas­ket ferns are es­pe­cially prom­i­nent at Mar­rja board­walk. And the ma­jes­tic king ferns love wet feet in the misty moun­tains of Alexan­dra Range and its foothills at the Dain­tree Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre. Tree ferns in gar­dens and road edges have lost lots of fronds and some seem to have to­tally died. Time will tell.

The bas­ket ferns had al­ready put on a skinny new growth to their outer leaves a few weeks ago, and were do­ing okay un­der the canopy but not thriv­ing.

The big test was the king ferns. With their thick frond base, they need a lot of wa­ter to cre­ate the tur­gor pres­sure that keeps them pumped up and erect. Yes, many are wilt­ing, with outer fronds col­laps­ing and drop­ping off. But, when you get in close to look at their bases, the thick, strong fronds are still thriv­ing. They’re beau­ti­ful, won­der­ful and suc­cess­ful sur­vivors. The main in­gre­di­ent is the dense closed rain­for­est canopy, pro­tect­ing it­self.

The weather’s been ex­treme, but it’s also na­ture’s way of de-clut­ter­ing and remulching. Nat­u­ralop­ti­mi­sa­tion pro­cesses.

With the first real rains, the “green” sea­son is just around the cor­ner.

Soon the fa­mous Dain­tree crys­tal clear creeks will be flow­ing strongly again, a riot of green growth will take over. And let’s see what hap­pens to the Thorn­tons land­slide then!

MIKE D’ARCY, Dain­tree

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