My Priorities For Douglas
I will work together with local residents and businesses to move Douglas in a new, refreshing direction, while always remaining aware
of maintaining the unique heritage of our region and the essential essence of what makes it such an amazing place to live, work and visit.
While I understand not everything can be accomplished immediately, the following are priorities I will advocate for once elected.
Accountable, Open and Inclusive Government
Shire residents I speak to have concerns that council has not been inclusive enough when it comes to consultation and information provision. Council is elected to represent and work the voting public, so it is imperative that decisions we make have the support of the majority of ratepayers.
I will endeavour to implement vast improvements on what we currently do and how we do it and will investigate a range of digital technology to make this happen. This will be introduced as part of a new Community Engagement Framework – “Douglas Shire Council Transparency Code”.
An example of one aspect of this code would be a system of live text feeds to all registered ratepayers to advise when and how surveys, consultation or information sessions will occur, linked to the opportunity to input their feedback on multiple platforms.
This code will improve council’s democratic accountability by offering ratepayers more agency and transparency in local decision-making processes, ultimately helping shape the Shire’s future direction in a way every one of us feels we have had our say in.
Changing Times Mean Changing Attitudes to Managing Water
Many of us appreciate that we are witnessing a change in weather patterns. While we’ve all been through periods of massive regional downpours, these have been accompanied by more frequent episodes of long stretches of close-to-zero rainfall, which threaten our ability to provide clean town water.
Council must address this. With weather patterns becoming more unpredictable even as we attempt to grow our shire to improve the local economy, I will lead council to investigate how to ensure there is enough water to meet demand, either drawn from local healthy river systems or collected and stored to offer uninterrupted supply during lean water periods.
Through creating a Water Security Level of Service Strategy Plan, we can forecast our water requirements and goals, navigating a way forward on how to achieve them through improved infrastructure, efficient water usage, enhanced education, and reusing and recycling water in safe and productive ways.
Input from the community on this will be invaluable. Water-use innovators will be encouraged to come forward and be part of the process to drought-proof our shire.
Reliable Roads that Help Drive Our Shire
Our local road network is critical for many residents of a shire that reaches from the south at Wangetti Beach all the way up beyond Degarra in the north. We live in a region that has periods of tumultuous and extreme weather. We know that it floods. We know of roads that are constantly blocked. We know the areas that are constantly damaged through these events. Because of this, our roads must be maintained by council so that they remain accessible and usable all year round and we must have plans in place to restore roads following extreme weather events.
In hope of putting some of our road network problems of the past behind us, I will introduce a Road Network Plan to guide council’s preparations for road improvements, repairs and future developments. I will also prioritise the sealing of frequently used gravel roads and regular maintenance on unsealed roads, such as the Bloomfield Track.
Economic Drivers to Keep Douglas Competitive
Just south of our shire is a city developing exponentially, and while many of us would agree that we don’t want any town in our region to become another Cairns, their local council are setting themselves up for massive residential and tourist growth.
This has the potential to have a devastating effect on our shire if we don’t introduce sensible and creative economic drivers that suit our region. Port Douglas is no longer a sleepy fishing town, Daintree Village is a gateway to the largest rainforest in Australia and yet tourism has seen a slump in recent times. And while the cane industry is still an important aspect of our local economy and community, neither Mossman nor the rest of the shire can continue to rely on it as one of the main drivers for employment and income.
Council needs to pivot towards a local economy that is attractive to developers and investors in its own unique way. Drivers such as the Mossman Botanic Garden, Marina Project and Mossman Mill Bio-Precinct are all positive economic boosters that should be celebrated and supported. We can help formulate other great projects similar to these if we collaborate whenever possible with all levels of government and private investors to incubate new opportunities that will create jobs, better incomes, greater investment and renewed confidence in our shire, strengthening our economic base and positioning it to grow further.
A stronger, broader-based and resilient local economy will also give us the ability to continue to protect areas of our shire – the Daintree, our wonderful beaches, the reef, amongst others – that are crucial “natural” drivers of our tourism sector.
Douglas SHIRE Development Plan
The current council wishes to develop a Port Douglas blueprint to look at all the requirements for the continued growth and development of Port Douglas.
While I obviously support and encourage this, given we also have many other wonderful townships, I believe we need to widen the development plant to encompass the entire shire.
One example would be investigating the expansion of the Balley Hooley to travel on from St Crispins through to Mossman where tourists can then access the Pool, Mill tour, Mossman Gorge etc. Another is to revisit the solar-powered bus service concept (based on the successful Adelaide Tindo buses), which would improve shire-wide transportation access outcomes for residents and visitors.
Every inch of our wonderful shire is as important as the next. Limiting the blueprint to Port Douglas betrays a lack of vision and fairness, and could even be detrimental given its narrow framing might lead council to double-up on expensive infrastructure better utilised on other important projects. A Douglas Shire Development Plan will allow for a range of projects to be looked at in both Port Douglas and other towns or locations, positioning the shire to take a more integrated approach to grow the value of our local tourism sector.
Protecting our Precious Natural Environment
So many of us live in the shire because we fell in love with the pure essence of our beautiful, one-of-a-kind region. I don’t believe any of us want to see the essential “nature” of our shire be diminished, or worse, disappear.
It is a central responsibility of council to ensure that the environment we live in is protected and preserved for future generations. We can do this by acting responsibly in our governance as a council and by giving residents the tools to assist them in ensuring our environment is protected for decades, if not centuries, to come.
Our Planning Scheme should be a double-barrelled, positive environmental mechanism, on the one hand ensuring sensitive areas in need of protection are preserved and on the other, allowing the development of residences, businesses and agriculture in a way that minimises harm to the environment.
Let us never forget that as the guardians of the Reef and the Rainforest and the remarkable natural landscape our shire exists on, we can live in harmony with our region by maintaining a balanced and holistic view to development.
My Climate Change Platform outlines further details of a thoroughly community-consulted “Climate Change and Carbon Policy Strategy Plan”, which will be suitable, appropriate and sensible for a small regional tourism council like Douglas.
Restoring our Parks and Gardens to be Glorious Green Spaces
While tourists come to the region for the rainforest and the reef, many stay longer to explore our region.
But what are we offering them in the way of public spaces?
Sadly, for me, one of the more disappointing aspects of our shire is the condition of our parks and gardens. At present, so many of our parks, gardens and open green spaces are in states of disrepair or drastically underused, sometimes being nothing more than paddocks of weeds and prickly grass. Occasionally, they contain playground equipment but for the most, many of these open public spaces present anything that would inspire tourists or locals to spend time in them.
Areas like Rex Smeal Park, with its lack of defined walkways, can be dark and dangerous, and there are few cultivated gardens in the shire that are truly representative of us being the international tourist location we position ourselves as being. Even many of our streets are bland, almost desert-like, lacking colour or dimension.
We need a more comprehensive strategy for park and garden management that will formulate what best represents each open space’s location while also helping fulfil the recreational needs of residents and tourists. A plan that will create usable spaces providing entertainment and memorable experiences. Elements of such a plan might include: off-leash dog areas; established picnic grounds with appropriate facilities; more play equipment; additional sports facilities such as basketball hoops and pump tracks; established gardens and pathways with bench seats; and better foliage and tree maintenance.
We live in one of the most beautiful natural areas of Queensland, if not Australia, so we should ensure our valuable natural assets are managed and treated as such while being utilised in ways that maximise their benefit to both the local community and visitors to our shire.
Sensible, Considered and Progressive Planning Scheme Adjustments
Despite council’s planning scheme being designated as award-winning by the State government, local planning often remains complicated, over-protected and mired in red tape.
Planning layers created to protect our shire have often served to hinder, deter or outright reject proposed projects, stymieing economic growth. Sensible changes need to be considered and made to the current planning scheme that will allow businesses to grow in correctly designated areas and that enables further residential property development, in turn helping increase council’s rate-paying property base, but which will not take away the protection of sensitive environmental areas requiring protection.
Serious consideration will also be required to ensure the supply of residential properties in non-tourism areas so that we have accommodation available for residents to live while working in the shire.
Creating A Contemporary Tourism Approach
Tourism is the lifeblood of our region. Without a successful sector, our entire shire suffers due to a drop in employment opportunities, reduction in the permanent population and a diminishment of the local business and services sector, which also shrinks as a consequence of a smaller population.
Through a visitor-focused strategic plan designed to reach a broader range of tourists and deliver exceptional and authentic experiences across the shire, we can revitalise our visitor economy. This bold new vision requires the contribution of all sections of the community – businesses and residents alike – to reposition our shire as an innovative, contemporary, vibrant destination, underpinned by the very essence of our extraordinary region.
This fresh approach to tourism, at least initially, will commence with the introduction of a new Council position – a Tourism and Economic Development Officer who will work with the Tourism Body and the Chamber of Commerce to ensure the shire has the infrastructure, experience and forward-thinking policy that aligns with the new contemporary approach to tourism management.
Connecting Our Residential Hubs
Environmentally friendly and cost-effective transport may seem futuristic but it’s not. Several countries in Asia, New Zealand and even our own Adelaide have forward-thinking governments that are investing in environmentally friendly public transport. And, as technological advances occur particularly around battery storage capacity, the potential for public transport systems to be carbon neutral and environmentally sound grows greater.
The implementation of an electric bus service in Douglas joining communities such as Mossman, Port Douglas, Newell Beach and Cooya will not only add a missing piece of council service provision and infrastructure, it will also have a magnifying effect on local economies as it becomes easier to move between townships.
Operated by solar power and equipped with GPS, which generates arrival and travel times and complimentary wi-fi, these buses would be a boon for both residents of our shire and our visitors. The elderly and those with disabilities would be able to travel between towns to access important services such as Centrelink or hospital appointments but also just to simply enjoy the different townships across the shire and what they have to offer. Our younger population would also have a means of travelling to visit friends, attend social sporting activities and travel safely between townships. And of course, there is the economic bonus of a public transport network connecting Newell Beach, Mossman, Cooya and Port Douglas, allowing residents to travel to work and for businesses to have greater access to employees who may not drive but would happily work or live in other towns if a public transport system was available to them.
Our tourism sector would also receive a solid boost if tourists had access to buses to travel around the shire to places such as Mossman to visit the Gorge and hopefully in the not-too-distant future the Botanic Garden.
This is a project I have been canvassing for five years. In many ways, it seems like a no-brainer to me that we must get on with if we are to offer a full range of publicly provided facilities that residents and visitors expect of a modern shire and council.
Renewal and Transformation to a vibrant country town
Mossman’s Front Street is the main artery of Douglas Shire. While it is functional and serves a practical purpose, it can be so much more and it’s high time to make up for years of little progress or development.
Just as with Macrossan Street, Front Street also needs a 2020 facelift, revitalised in such a way that it still retains its great country-town character. If Mossman is to get any kind of commercial uplift to improve its take of the tourism market, this must start with council making the street investment-worthy. Improved car parking, access to public toilets and an enhanced streetscape are just some of the ways we can attract both businesses and visitors to the street. We must also consider Mossman’s ageing population, who might find the street challenging, particularly when it comes to disability access.
Mossman is one of several great towns in our shire and I am passionate about pumping new life into this central, important thoroughfare.
A Vibrant Streetscape Tourists will Talk About
While the main street of Port Douglas is in no way broken, Macrossan Street needs a refresh.
Repopulating the gardens with modern tropical garden beds, and upgrading pathways and lighting themes will help increase public usage of the whole street and more generally improve its popularity. Parking is a major concern, both for locals and visitors alike, and if we hope to grow the number of tourists coming to Port, this must be addressed by the new council. A new multi-story car park and more streamlined cost-effective local transport solutions to take the pressure off our already strained parking network are just two ways we can improve the current situation.
The full length of Macrossan Street should be one of the strongest beating tourist-and-commercial-hearts of our shire. By thorough planning and not just ad-hoc projects we can make the entire strip inviting and vibrant so people will talk about it when they go home as having been one of the highlights of their trip to our shire.
A World-Class Marina in a World-Class Town
The Marina has the potential to be the focus of a new direction for Douglas.
As a major component of enabling Port Douglas to survive and thrive as a tourist destination, the proposed redevelopment is a priority council should be embracing, taking the steps necessary to ensure the development proceeds in a way that benefits the town and community but that is also true to the vision of the marina project development team.
This project offers an unprecedented opportunity for the Port Douglas tourist brand to be revived, particularly for international markets. Council must keep pace with what the redevelopment will bring to Port by matching its own infrastructure to meet the anticipated quality offerings of the project. There’s no point having a potential jewel in the crown built when it’s surrounded by pebbles and rocks!
A council with me leading it will not allow this opportunity to pass or have us fall short of the great potential it holds. We will carefully assess the many facets that might affect the external operations of the marina project, devising strategies and undertaking work to bring the entire township along with the project in a way that matches what this amazing development promises to be.
Improved Parking for Busy Town Centres
As residents in either community will agree with, parking is a problem in Mossman and Port Douglas. Both towns require improved parking options in close proximity to commercial areas so that customers are able to gain access to businesses in all weather conditions.
A range of options need to be investigated – from newly built parking facilities to improved access, which can be included as part of proposed street beautification works – that will open up parking opportunities for both townships.
Practical Safe Swimming Alternatives Now – Not in the Never Never
“To lagoon or not to lagoon” is an ongoing saga that feels older than Shakespeare. Each year around election time the idea is rehashed, leading to yet another new concept and design presented to solve the shire’s need for a safe swimming alternative in Port Douglas.
I’m yet to see a proposal that outlines how either financially or practically a lagoon can work with the currently limited rate base, little sign of economic growth and a shrinking population.
As beautiful and enticing as our shire is, we also know challenges exist when it comes to accessing our waterways. Whether it’s jellyfish on our beaches during the stinger season or crocs going about their business in places we’d rather they didn’t, as a 365-days-a-year tourist destination, we must provide safe recreational places for residents and tourists to socialise.
Council needs to take the lead with this issue, particularly when it comes to Port Douglas and its huge tourism flows, ensuring that there are social areas where swimming or water play can occur safely. But we can’t do this alone, so we must work on the strongest business case possible then canvas it at both the State and Federal levels and also to private operators to gain assistance in the installation of a permanent, safe, accessible water play area.
If we wish to continue to grow our tourism offering and increase this crucial sector of our local economy, while also offering locals an area for outdoor social activity, council must be an active force in making it happen rather than letting it sit on the backburner.
Whether it’s this design or the next, it’s time to stop planning and scoping and instead get to work on a safe swimming facility that also provides an alternative location for other social activity.
Realistically, however, I believe for it to happen within a reasonable timeframe it must be designed in a way that’s appropriate in terms of it being practical and cost-effective for our community.
Time to Truly be a United Shire: No More “Them and Us”
From Bloomfield to Wangetti, from Mount Windsor National Park to Flagstaff Hill Lighthouse, our shire should united – a shire your council represents in its entirety.
A hallmark of good government is Douglas having an inclusive council where regardless of population, all areas of the shire and its people are contributing factors in council decision-making and operations.
For too long, some residents have felt excluded from this. Over 700 people live north of the river, contributing to the shire as renters, homeowners, consumers, businesses and good citizens. Many of these residents have been left feeling their voices aren’t as important as others – that they are not included enough in council-made decisions about their lives.
As mayor, I will lead the change for greater shire-wide unity. My first priority will be to give a letter of full support to the Federal government initiative to supply environmentally friendly mini-grid power to Daintree residents who want it.
My second priority will be to further investigate the reality of providing a two-ferry solution via an effective solar-powered 36-car ferry for the Daintree crossing. I will confirm that the process for permits is being completed for this solution and will ensure that there is full disclosure of the costs involved, and who will end up paying for it. As rate-payers, you have the right to make informed decisions with all available information presented to you.
Showcasing the Unique Botanics of our Rainforest
Progressing the Mossman Botanic Garden Project is an absolute necessity, with a proposal of this scale and vision supported by council to ensure it gets off the ground successfully.
The Garden will infuse Mossman with greater commercial opportunities due to its unique tourist-pulling potential in offering a world-class destination that provides invaluable insight into our Unesco world-heritage-listed Tropical North Queensland.
It may also lead to the beginnings of a new tertiary education culture for the township, offering the shire a new reputation as a place for students of botany, agriculture, environmental studies etc. to visit.
Between the Botanic Garden and the Bio-Mill Precinct, Mossman has the potential to become a place that attracts a semi-permanent university student population and maybe even lead to the establishment of new satellite campuses of larger universities. This could potentially position the town to become an educational hub for our region, adding a completely new sector to the local economy while boosting the broader economy with the flow-on effect of students visiting and living in the region.
Protecting a Million-Dollar Asset
Over ten years ago, a study was conducted into the health of the oil palms that line the entrance to Port Douglas, recommending that this million-dollar asset be protected and stating that if the palms where not mulched, irrigated and fertilised regularly, their lifespan would be cut in half. The report also recommended that the nursery start propagating and growing new plants to ensure they reach a suitable size to act as replacements when needed.
None of the recommendations has been adopted. Council’s current plan is to replace the palms as they die with native trees. I believe we must preserve the iconic million-dollar avenue Port Douglas is internationally renowned for and that has been written about in so many travel pieces about the town and region. Losing the oil palms is akin to losing part of Port’s soul. Oaks have set an example in front of their resort in the way they have cared for the oil palms. I would hope to mimic this landscaping from Captain Cook Hwy down Port Road, using grey-water piping (which runs most of that distance) to irrigate these treasures of our community.
Respect and Acknowledgement for Local Indigenous Peoples
Almost everything council does has the potential to affect the traditional owners of the land the shire sits on.
As a community, we must be culturally sensitive to the traditional owners and inclusive in decisions that directly affect them. There are many ways we can do this. Ensuring correct local language is used in signage, incorporating local indigenous artwork into our brand and assisting indigenous residents to be involved in local tourism are just a few initiatives I feel strongly about investigating.
I also believe we need an Indigenous Cultural Officer within council. This will ensure that the Kuku Yalanji, Yirrganydji and Djabugay people have a direct link to council – a champion for their needs, ideas and attitudes around how council manages the shire.
A New Green Artery and Social Hub for Town
With the marina development potentially set to become in many ways the new heart of Port Douglas, Grant Street could be refashioned into a bold new “green” artery for town.
Closing off Grant Street from the Macrossan Street end and increasing park and seating areas between Macrossan Street and Warner Street will turn the strip into a refreshed green hub. And with improved pedestrian access, more dining areas and some public art, Grant Street could well become a new mini tourist precinct, adding yet another perfectly “Instagrammable” picturesque place to town.
Building a Unique Collection of Coral for Conservation and Research
As coral reefs worldwide decline due to climate change, severe storm events and coral disease, Australian non-profit organisation GBR Legacy, with partners Corals of the World and Cairns Marine, have announced plans to safeguard the biodiversity of all known hard-coral species by creating the world’s first Living Coral Biobank Project in Port Douglas.
Their plan is to collect and keep alive hard coral species from around the world in a state-of-the-art holding facility – a type of “coral ark” – in an effort to maintain the living biodiversity of coral and their algal and bacterial symbionts to ensure the long-term survival of our Reef.
Not only is this a noteworthy and amazing preservation project, it will also be another unique tourist attraction for vacationers to Douglas that I fully support and will be advocating strongly for.
A Bio-Mill as the Heart of Mossman for Generations to Come
For many in Mossman, the Sugar Mill has traditionally been a place of employment and a mainstay of the local economy, although some rightly argue the Mill has not kept up with the times and as a result has been the subject of endless complaints around poor EPA standards and lack of care for those who live nearby.
I have no intentions of taking up the case to close the Mill. I see it as part of the foundation of our shire. For the benefit of the entire community, council must work alongside the Mill’s new owners to ensure they can meet their commitments and smoothly transition to operating within EPA regulations as a bio-refinery and integral part of our local economy for generations to come.
Turning a Contentious Land Purchase into a Prosperous Asset
Late last year following the collapse in negotiations with the Qantas/Green Collar Carbon Credit Scheme, and at the request of some councillors, council brought forward the opportunity to purchase a block of land for tree planting to facilitate a locally-run carbon-neutral initiative. If successful, this will be discussed in a thorough community consultation on Climate Change and a Carbon Emissions Policy to gain a clear direction.
I have no desire to utilise this block for the reduction of council’s carbon footprint, personally believing the block is not fit for the purpose it was bought for and might, at best, mitigate a quarter of council’s carbon emissions at a large cost to the ratepayer. I agreed to the purchase because to me it felt chock-full of possible uses. I saw it as the purchase of an asset rather than as an expense as others have tried to frame the transaction, which of course makes no sense as council now owns a tangible asset that can be used to benefit the community in an ongoing way.
I am aware that others in our community also feel strongly about this and I am determined to flesh out the case for more useful, prosperous options going forward. My initial thoughts around using the land centre on the constant complaints we hear about the north side of the ferry lacking land to support the express lane and toll booths. Part of this purchased land would allow for the road reserve to be moved, allowing cars to be diverted into a designated express lane and toll booth area.
Given its location, this portion of the land could also double-up as a tourist attraction through the construction of an interpretation centre and tourism office where visitors can learn about the history of the Daintree dating back to how the traditional owners, the Kuku Yalanji, inhabited the region right up until today’s modern issues around the environment and blockades. Tourists could also have the opportunity to leave their positive mark on the Daintree by buying and planting a tree to help rebuild that section of the rainforest. This would create another revenue stream for council and more employment in the region, and once these trees grow to a point where they can be used for carbon credits, the credits can then be sold to local or other small businesses to help offset their carbon emissions, creating even further income for council and value for residents.
There are also our beloved oil palms lining Douglas Road and the resolution over 12 years ago urging council to start growing them in a plantation in readiness for natural die-off and the eventual need for replacements in order to maintain our iconic entrance to Port Douglas. With time running out to start cultivating new oil palms, a portion of this parcel of land might be perfect for just such a plantation.
These are two ideas among many possibilities for this land, which could also include nature walks and a solar farm, and I look forward to a frank and full consultation with the entire shire community about the way forward.
This is more than just a block of land – it’s an important piece of the puzzle that helps make up a more prosperous future vision for our shire.
Helping Ageing Residents Remain in The Community They Love
Unfortunately, Port Douglas missed out on an important opportunity to improve housing outcomes for our aged community when Waks Development shelved its plans for Ferrero Road, as Council refused to amend the planning scheme that had already declined this project on its previous application. Even with the widespread support during the consultation stage by local residents, a majority of councillors insisted that the footprint of Port Douglas not be changed.
As well as providing accommodation options for ageing locals, a retirement complex would have brought in a new population of self-funded, non-working, ready-to-volunteer rate-paying property owners.
This is why revisiting the possibility of the Ferrero Road project ranks high on my agenda. As well as increasing council’s revenue, it will also expand our population and improve employment opportunities both at the IGA complex, as it potentially expands to cater to new locals at that end of town, and more broadly across other townships as an expansion of other services are needed for a once-again growing population.
We can do more, and we must. Revisiting the Ferrero Road development would be just one aspect of the kinds of housing opportunities in both Mossman and Port Douglas I would pursue with council as mayor. I value the great contributions to the shire of our long-term ageing residents, so working alongside the Douglas Shire Aged Persons Home Inc. to ensure that adequate and suitable housing is available will mean we acknowledge the great importance of our elderly to the broader community, enabling them to remain in the region they love and call home, rather than being forced to move elsewhere.
Let there be light…. and power!
Unless you’ve lived without the ability to perform the most simple action many of us take for granted – that of being able to switch on a light – it’s difficult to comprehend some of the daily struggles many over the river have to contend with.
This issue has been debated and surveyed ad nauseam. What I fail to understand is when a Federal government stumps up close to a million dollars to assist our fairly small Daintree community to kickstart an optional, environmentally friendly power solution, why would you not celebrate this and work for ratepayers towards a solution that embraces the option?
This opportunity to cut back at least some diesel use and enable those who want to be part of the eco-microgrid cannot be passed up, so I will ensure council works with the Federal government to get the best outcome when it comes to supplying the power needs of ALL residents living north of the river.
Redeveloping Mossman Aquatic Centre & Caravan Park
Swimming is a huge part of who Australians are, whether it’s in the waters off our amazing beaches, having a splash in our backyard pools or heading down to the local community swimming hole for a dip and some social activity.
Mossman Pool offers a safe and social environment for children and adults alike to become water-smart and fit, but also to be more socially engaged through swimming clubs and community events, so the redevelopment of the pool will greatly enhance life for locals.
When linked to my hopes of launching a new inter-town public transport network connecting Mossman, Newell, Cooya and Port Douglas via a solar-powered bus service and possible upgrades to Mossman Caravan Park, redeveloping the pool will enhance the Mossman community and bring more of the tourist dollar into the town.
A One-of-a-Kind Outdoor Experience for Locals and Tourists
Vocal in my disappointment at the removal of the iconic Old Mowbray Bridge locals used as a fishing platform, I became heavily involved in the push for the reinstatement of a fishing platform. Unfortunately, at the time this project was vetoed due to the astronomical costs estimated of needing to install car parking dictated by main roads.
So, I was ecstatic when the announcement came through about State government funding for stage one of the Wangetti Trail from Four Mile Beach to Mowbray River. This first stage of the proposed 94-km trail will allow locals and tourists to walk or ride their bicycles to view our local crocs in the wild and river-fish safely away from the water’s edge. I look forward to seeing the completion of this project and as Mayor will assist with its development where able.
Finding Ways to Live Safely With our Prehistoric Locals
Crocs and other deadly wildlife are the simple reality of living in far-north Australia.
Until the early 70s, it was the norm to hunt crocodiles meaning our waterways and beaches were safer and allowing much more in the way of water sports and recreation. Once this hunting ceased and the croc population began growing again, the human population also increased, meaning many water activities were severely hampered over safety concerns.
While, thankfully, the shire death toll due to croc attacks to this point has been low, council still needs to pursue policy that ensures safety without hampering the enjoyment of locals and tourists. Improved water play areas and safe swimming alternatives should be part of this policy to ensure the shire helps provide safe recreational water activity options.