Local residents are questioning the legalities of Douglas Shire Council building a parking lot in a a wetland protection area in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area, extending Cowrie St into endangered littoral rainforest.
Douglas Shire Council recently installed bollards at the end of Cowrie St and planned to revegetate the area in-line with the Council’s Resilient Coast Strategic Plan.
Unusually, work has now commenced on turning the planned revegetation area into a parking area, despite this earlier decision, and despite objections from neighbouring properties.
When contacted for comment, Councillor Abigail Noli responded, “From the beginning, I have believed that Councillors are strategists and Council staff are operational, I defer to the expertise of the staff. When they, staff, make the decisions they take into account all aspects which may include, local laws, environmental laws, costs, precedents, Council policies, plans and strategies. By allowing officers to do their job it ensures consistencies in the look across the Shire and, as no bias is shown, it also ensures better harmony within the community. I believe a Councillor may assist staff by providing pertinent information and and indeed has a right to do so-but then cease there. The staff’s original decision for this concern seemed consistent to similar situations across the Shire “.
Unfortunately, on Monday, seven Council workers moved the recently installed bollards into the beach esplanade area to make way for bitumen.