On The Agenda at Douglas Shire Council’s Meeting Next Week

douglas shire council news

This Douglas Shire Council Meeting is now open to the public.  There will be a maximum of 10 people allowed (due to size of the room and to allow for social distancing) and will not need to pre-register.

In line with government regulations, council requires that all guests register (to assist with contract tracing) their details prior to entering the Meeting Room. Council staff will rotate in and out of the room to ensure the COVID safe capacity is adhered to.

The Council meeting will be live-streamed online and can be access by clicking here.

Noteworthy items on the agenda include:

Request for Approval for Unapproved Landscaping and Extension to Currency Period for Escape Street Development CA2638/2008

The request relates to the combined development approval for a material change of use and reconfiguration of a lot (30 lots & common property) with a house on 28 lots, a display home on a lot and a food and drink outlet on another lot. The land is described as Lots1 and 2 on SP311489, located at 4-10 Escape Street and 9 St Crispins Avenue, Port Douglas.

Council is in receipt of a request which seeks approval to extend the currency period for a further four years in addition to seeking amendments to the approved plan with respect to the amalgamation of several of the approved lots and to further amend conditions of the approval.

The request to have the currency period extended by a further four years and to amalgamate several allotments is supported and recommended for approval.

The request which seeks amendment to Condition 9 and Condition 37 to approve unapproved landscaping works undertaken on the road verge of Escape Street is not supported.

It is recommended that the conditions requiring a grassed road verge and street tree plantings undertaken in accordance with the FNQROC Development Manual remain unchanged.

At the 28 April 2020 Ordinary Council Meeting, Council resolved to agree to a minor change request to allow the applicant to remove the existing footpath at the Escape Street frontage and re-turf the verge area as well as plant street trees in accordance with the separation distances, sizing, species requirements, service and infrastructure protection requirements and all other design standards for street tree planting from the FNQROC Development Manual.
Council agreed to the request by the applicant to remove the existing footpath and replace it with turf and street trees so pedestrians could walk on the grassed verge while supporting an aesthetically pleasing vegetated road verge.
The applicant has now removed the footpath and densely planted out the road verge with trees and shrubs and installed an irrigation system. All works have been undertaken without the consent of Council and in breach of the requirements of the conditions of approval as amended by Council on 28 April 2020.

The landscaping has been planted with no regard to underground service alignment and with no regard to the design requirements in accordance with the FNQROC Development Manual.
For these and other reasons, the proposed minor changes cannot be supported and the existing landscaping needs to be made compliant with Council’s previously considered and desired treatment of the road verge.

 Notice of Motion – Repeal of Decision for Application for Permanent Road Closure over Esplanade Adjacent to Lot 2 RP 724386 Port Douglas

This is a notice of motion submitted by Councillor Abigail Noli concerning the repeal of a previous Council decision for an Application for Permanent Road Closure for the proposed Gurner development on Flagstaff Hill.

Councillor Noli gave notice of her intention to move the following motion at the Ordinary Council Meeting of 30 March 2021.

  1. That the recommendation of an Application for Permanent Road Closure over Esplanade Adjacent to Lot 2 RP 724386 Port Douglas, resolved at the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 15 December 2020, be repealed.
  2. That Council informs DNRME that if Part C assessment process has already been expedited, that Council delegates authority under section 257 of the Local Government Act 2009 to the Chief Executive Officer to immediately advise the Department of Natural Resources Mines & Energy (DNRME) that Council is not supportive of the road closure, and
  3. When DNRME formally seeks views from Council and the public as outlined in the 15 December 2020 report, Council will provide objections to the proposed road closure.
flagstaff hill gurner development on council agenda
Image Credit / Douglas Shire Council

RADF Committee Member Appointment

That Council endorse the appointment of new Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) Committee member Sabine Hoeng to the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) Committee, to serve a term of four years, with an option to stand down after two years.

The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is a State Government and Douglas Shire Council partnership to support local arts and culture in the Shire.

The current RADF Committee comprises Cr Abigail Noli, Jill Chism, Perry Harrison and Lynda Irvine. The fifth committee member, Sandra Cruz, handed in her resignation in 2020 due to relocating away from the Shire. A public call-out for nominations to join the RADF committee in February 2021 led to one nomination being received.

 Roadside Vending Policy Update

That Council adopt the updated Roadside Vending General Policy.

Council officers receive enquiries from time to time regarding the sale of goods from the road, known as Roadside Vending. The current policy only permits the sale of whole fruit, vegetables and flowers grown by the approval holder or primary produce harvested by the approval holder.

The intent of the policy is to provide clear objectives and guidelines for the issuing of approvals to carry out Roadside Vending activities. The current policy was due for revision in 2019 and has now been reviewed and updated following the adoption of Council’s new Local Laws.

In general, the Policy is in accordance with the following provisions:

  • Any applicant wanting to undertake Roadside Vending on a State controlled road, must first seek approval from the Department of Transport and Main Roads before making application to Council.
  • All new applications applied for under the Local Law that relate only to the selling of produce, by a primary producer – will be assessed by an Authorised Person in the Environment and Planning department.
  • All new applications for anything other than produce, can only be approved by a Council resolution.
street vendor policy on douglas shire council meeting agenda

 Wonga Beach Caravan Park Caretaker Management Agreement

That Council resolves to:

  • Approve the appointment of temporary caretaker for a period of three months from 31 March 2021 at renumeration as stated in the financial section of the report.
  • Approve the allocation of $140,000.00 to construct on site accommodation at Wonga Beach Caravan Park.

The Wonga Beach Caravan Park has been without a caretaker since November 2020. Council has advertised the position of Caretaker on two occasions without success. Currently Council staff are running the park but as the busy season is about to commence more suitable arrangement are required. Council officers are seeking Council’s endorsement to appoint an external caretaker for a period of three months and seeking funding to provide onsite accommodation for prospective caretakers.

On the 24 September 2020 Council advertised for a caretaker of the park. Within the Management Agreement advertised Council would pay 33% of park takings as payment of services. Also, the successful tenderer would have to supply on site accommodation as none is available on site. Only one submission was received but was deemed unsuitable. Council revised the management agreement to make it more appealing. This time Council were offering a base payment of $1,500.00 per month plus 33% of the income derived from the park. Three applications were received and after consideration one applicant appeared to have all the requirements to undertake the position. A letter was sent to the preferred applicant to confirm that he was able to provide own
accommodation. Unfortunately the applicant advised council that as not knowing the area he was not prepared to purchase a caravan but advised that he would be available for short term over the busy season.

douglas shire council meeting discusses wonga beach caravan park caretaker role

Milman Drive Playground – Six Month Post Installation Review

Installation of the playground at 49 Milman Drive, Craiglie was completed in June 2020, and in accordance with Council Resolution, a six month post installation review has been completed to understand the local sentiment towards the new playground. These findings, including both positive and negative community experiences, were presented to the Councillor Workshop on 16 March 2021. To preserve the privacy of all survey respondents, these findings will not be made public.
The survey has highlighted some minor maintenance, landscaping and infrastructure improvements that could easily be made to the park area including installation of bench seating and planting of additional shade and screening landscaping. Other more significant improvements, such as installation of a shade sail would need to be reviewed, if this is an outcome Council desires.

The recommendation is that Council resolves to retain the Milman Drive Playground in situ with no further significant changes.

Financial Report February 2021

  • Operating revenue is ahead of budget by $13K.
  • Operating expenditure is under budget by $1.9M.
  • The Operating Surplus is currently $8.3m, compared to a budgeted Surplus of $6.5M

Operating Revenue and Expenditure

  • Council has received 86% of its annual budgeted operating revenue
  • Year to date operating expenditure is currently under budget.
  • Operating revenue is currently ahead of budget, with variations occurring primarily within the categories as follows:
  • Rates and utility charges are currently $9k behind budget this is due to several factors including a recorded decrease in water consumption $24k to budget. This is offset by an increase in other charges $17k which includes the Aged Care facility. Pension remission costs exceed budget by $2k.
  • Daintree Ferry revenue is currently $105k behind budget. This includes refunds of $19k for Covid Relief measures. This variance will continue to be monitored closely.

Other fees and charges are currently online with budget, however there are a number of variances within this category:

  • Refuse Tipping fees are currently $24k ahead of budget.
  • Licence Fees are currently $14k behind budget. A delay in issuing prescribed activity fees $38k causes this variance but is partially offset by issuing of film permits.
  • Property fees are currently $110k ahead of budget. This includes Search Fees which are $40k ahead of budget, which continues to reflect the reported increased movement in properties.
  • Other fees and charges are currently $120k behind budget. Mossman Pool is $26k behind and Facility hire is $106k behind. This includes Port Douglas Markets which is $64k behind budget and $14k in refunds due to venue cancellations.
  • Grants and subsidies are $30k ahead of budget and includes funding for Sustainable Fishing $13.5k & $7.5k for Wangetti revegetation.
  • Interest Income is currently $17k ahead of budget.
  • Other recurrent income is ahead of budget $81k. An additional State works contract for Alchera Drive works has impacted this result. Budgeted Income has also been moved to offset waste levy expense as per Audit advice. Other revenue can also be impacted by the timing of income from the sale of recycled materials.

On the operating expenditure side, year to date expenditure variations to budget are as follows:

  • Materials and services expenditure is currently under budget $1.1M. This variance is primarily due to timing of receipt of invoices and commencement of operational projects,
  • Committals are currently $2.0M, which include Annual purchase orders for major contracts such as Ferry, Waste removal, etc.
  • Employee benefits are currently $441k under budget. This can be impacted by various factors, such as staff vacancies, the amount and timing of leave taken and the allocation of costs to capital expenditure. This variance includes an allowance for the impact of an EBA change. Employee voting has completed, and the EBA has now moved forward in the process and has been sent to Queensland Industrial Relations commission for finalisation.
  • Depreciation expense is currently $269k under budget and is impacted by completion of projects.
  • Finance Costs are currently $8k under budget, this is due to timing of bank merchant fees charged.

REVIEW the Financial Report in full here

Closed Session Table of Contents

Confidential items include discussions regarding an Australian Olympic Team Event.