January 19, 2021

The news service people turn to for quality information and opinion.

Letter / Promises, promises!

2 min read
With promises to consult, be transparent and represent the people of the Shire, the Mayor needs to explain the contradiction with his actions since taking office.

MICHAEL J GABOUR


With promises to consult, be transparent and represent the people of the Shire, the Mayor needs to explain the contradiction with his actions since taking office. He continues to justify his actions by declaring he is fulfilling his campaign promises.

Campaign promises to whom?

I never heard him declare he was going to hold up the ferry contract so that he could attempt to get a bridge built across the Daintree River.

To whom did he make this promise?

I never heard him promise to attempt to de-fund the most successful Regional Tourism Organisation in the country and create a nefarious new job position with “tourism” in the name.

To whom did he make this promise?

I never heard him promise to attempt to use ratepayers’ funds to buy a piece of privately owned land and infrastructure.

To whom did he make this promise?

If he plans to consult, be transparent, and to represent all the people, he is off to a terrible start.

At the first meeting of the newly elected Council, the Mayor jack-booted through three Mayoral minutes. Two of these minutes jeopardise 30 years of effort to make the Douglas Shire the number one environmental destination in the world. Strategic consultants Destination Think confirm the success of this effort. For two straight years, our region has topped the charts of tourism destinations globally in their Tourism Research Sentiment (TSI).

“This is the highest asset score recorded to date, and reflects the calibre of operators in the Port Douglas Daintree region and the experience they are offering for visitors through the master reef guide program, advanced eco-tourism certification and leading research and sustainability practice.”

Destination ThinkTank

The Mayor’s misguided proposal to build a bridge across the Daintree River threatens 150 million-year-old rainforest and the large variety of fauna that call the rainforest home. It is also a direct threat to years of marketing success.

The Mayor’s apparent indifference (if not outright hostility!) towards continued funding for TPDD would be questionable in the best of times. When we are reeling from the COVID-19 lockdown, to effectively de-fund the most successful RTO in the country is utter madness. Since re-structuring in 2006, TPDD has grown from strength to strength. The Shire needs TPDD now more than ever.

The Mayor acknowledges the devastating economic impact of COVID-19. But I am at a total loss to understand why he considers it is urgent enough to rush through a Mayoral Minute to fund another study of a proposal to use ratepayers’ money to purchase, and presumably manage, privately-owned land and a 25m metre lap pool. I understand the Council has twice rejected the proposal because the structure is not sound.

No, the only promises I heard the Mayor make are in the first sentence of this letter. As far as I am concerned, he has broken every one of them.