DouglasNews.Network published an article over two weeks ago where we put several questions to the Douglas Shire Council about the status of the interim ferry contract when the current contract expires on June 30 this year. The Council put out a tender to run an interim ferry on February 9 this year. The tender closed on March 9 with the expected decision on March 23.
Douglas Shire Council’s Senior Media and Communications Officer, Tom Volling, responded, “I have spoken to the relevant officer who advised the contractors will provide two options to Council to ensure the continuation of service. The contractors advised that they will endeavour to provide these options for Council’s consideration by the next Council meeting on 27 April 2021.”
“Once a response is received, Council will be able to make a decision on these options. If Council decides to purchase the ferry, then Council can consider the recent tender submissions for an interim contract.”
The April 27 meeting was deferred to Friday, April 30. This meeting was then deferred to Tuesday, May 11.
DouglasNews.Network has not heard anything about signing of the contract for the two-ferry service after the previous Council announced the successful tender in December 2019.
This was the agreed solution of two extensive community consultations.
If this contract had been signed in 2019 it would be operational on July 1.
If it is to avoid being landed with no ferry at all post June 30, Council will have to buy, hire or contract a ferry or service in the next few weeks.
Assuming one of those three options eventuates there will certainly not be a means of dealing with long queues in the busy season – which was the purpose of the two-ferry solution.
What is Council’s strategy to deal with the likely holiday season queues?
DouglasNews.Network has therefore asked Council the following questions:
- What is Council’s plan for the Daintree ferry crossing post June 30?
- On the assumption Council is able to hire, contract or purchase a ferry or crossing service, what is the Council’s plan to deal with likely queues?
- Does Council have any other plans should a ferry or service not be arranged by June 30?
DouglasNews.Network will publish responses immediately they are received.