Today’s results of Douglas Shire Council’s consultation on the Daintree River Crossing Options confirm that 66% of Douglas Shire residents and ratepayers prefer a two-ferry service compared to 33% of people who choose a bridge. 1% prefer a single ferry.
These results consolidate the excellent work completed by the previous Council under the leadership of Julia Leu as Mayor. The new consultation has wasted a year of time and resources. The previous Council approved the two-ferry option on December 3, 2019. New ferries would have been operational on July 1, 2021, in seven months time. Now, this will not happen, as a new contract needs to be signed before the contractor can commence construction of the new ferries.
This unnecessary consultation wasted approximately $60,000 of resident and ratepayer funds in a time when the budget is in a severe financial position, running a deficit, with the need for rate increases for the next eight years. This is yet another example of mismanagement by the current Mayor’s administration, who promised lower rates, due to Crs Scomazzon, McKeown and Kerr voting for this fiasco, against the reasoned objections of Crs Noli and Zammataro.
The cost of countless hours of staff time hasn’t been considered- this valuable time should have been used for other priorities. The Mayor’s priority should have been focussing on businesses and the community; saving us from the damaging economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding and staff resources should have been applied to preventing the myriad of empty shops in Port Douglas and Mossman; a representation of our serious community malaise.
Instead, the Mayor wasted time and money on a broken down pool, a loss-making train, and an enormous amount on pushing for a Daintree bridge.