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.