December 8, 2022

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Quality news, views and analysis of issues that affect and inform us in the Douglas Shire.

On The Agenda at Tomorrow’s Douglas Shire Council Meeting

An Ordinary Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, 22 February 2022, at 10am.

An Ordinary Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, 22 February 2022, at 10am. The agenda can be downloaded below.

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


1 Announcement and Table of Contents


5.1 Application for Material Change of Use (Air services and Caretakers accommodation) 35-39 Port Street, Port Douglas

Council is in receipt of a development application for a Material Change of Use for Air Services and Caretakers accommodation at 35-39 Port Street, Port Douglas.
Morris Aviation Australia trading locally as Nautilus Aviation operate scenic flights and propose to establish a new facility for use as a base for the tourist operation equipped with two helicopter landing pads, refuelling infrastructure, hangars, an office, reception for patrons and a caretakers residence.
The Air services land use is impact assessable (inconsistent) within the Industry zone and the application underwent public notification, with 24 submissions received by Council. The primary concern raised within the submissions was the potential for unreasonable noise impacts on surrounding sensitive land uses.
The applicant did not accept an information request from Council and is of the view that the proposal will not create an unreasonable noise impact. An acoustic assessment has been provided to Council by the applicant, however there are several concerns with the assessment.
The application cannot be recommended for approval primarily due to the risk of noise nuisance.

Image Credit /  @krissy_jean26


The recommendation is that Council refuses the development application on the following planning grounds:


(1) The proposal conflicts with Theme 2- Environment & Landscape Values 3.5.6.1 Specific Outcome 1 as the air and acoustic environment is not carefully managed to maintain the health and wellbeing of the community.
(2) The proposal conflicts with Theme 2- Environment & Landscape Values 3.5.6.1 Specific Outcome 3 as it represents a new noisy recreational activity that is not compatible with the amenity of the surrounding area and the impacts on sensitive receiving environments is not avoided.
(3) The proposal conflicts with the Overall Outcomes of the Industry Zone Code;
a. The viability of future industrial activities is not protected from the intrusion of the incompatible use.
(4) The proposal conflicts with PO9 of the Industry Zone Code as Air Services is an inconsistent use and the establishment of air services is not consistent with the outcomes sought for the Industry zone.
(5) The proposal conflicts with PO10 of the Industry Zone Code as it lowers the standard of amenity in terms of noise for sensitive land uses located near-by and outside the Industry zone.
(6) The proposal conflicts with the Port Douglas and Craiglie Local Plan overall development outcome (f) of the Waterfront South sub-precinct as the precinct is not protected from encroachment of incompatible land use activities.
(7) The proposal conflicts with PO55 of the Port Douglas and Craiglie Local Plan as the buildings and structures proposed are not set back from sensitive areas to ensure the environmental qualities of the adjacent area are not adversely affected.
(8) The proposal conflicts with the overall outcomes of the Environmental Performance Code;
a. The proposal has the potential to cause an adverse impact on amenity of adjacent and surrounding land and does not avoid the risk through location, design and operation of the development;
b. sensitive land uses are not protected from amenity related impacts of noise, through design and operation of the proposal;
(9) The proposal does not comply with P02 of the Environmental Performance code as potential noise generated from the development is not avoided through design, location and operation of the activity.


5.2 Amendment Declaration of Sewer and Water Service Areas within Douglas Shire – Feb 2022

Douglas Shire Council acts as the local government entity supplying water and sewerage services in part of the local government area. Under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008, the Council is required to declare and update the relevant reticulated water and sewerage service areas.
Declaration of service areas provide the basis for a guarantee of connection for all premises in the service area. Additionally, the declared service areas enable service providers to recover reasonable costs from customers for ensuring their networks are designed for and can deal with the service requirement of all premises in the service area.

The recommendation is that Council resolves to:

  1. Declare that Douglas Shire Council is the service provider for the provision of reticulated water and sewerage services within Douglas Shire;
  2. Declare the revised maps attached indicate the service areas within the coloured boundary (relevant area) for reticulated water and sewerage within Douglas Shire.

5.3 Water and Wastewater Quarterly Report for the period ending 31 December 2021

This report documents progress on key operational and service delivery areas as well as the Regulatory compliance status within the Water and Wastewater department for the period 1 October to 31 December 2021.
Whilst the results are generally positive the areas for improvement are noted and will be the focus of the department over the next quarter.


5.4 Financial Report January 2022

The Financial Report details the progress of the 2021/22 annual budget for the period ended 31 January 2022. Key points to note include the following:
+ Operating revenue is behind budget by $181k.
+ Operating expenditure is under budget by $1.7m.
+ The Operating Surplus is currently $10.4m, compared to a budgeted Surplus of $8.9m


Council has outlined some key aspects of the report,

  • Council has received 79% of its annual budgeted operating revenue
  • Year to date operating expenditure is currently under budget.
  • Operating revenue is currently behind budget, with variations occurring primarily within the categories as follows:
  • Rates and utility charges are currently online with budget.
  • Daintree Ferry revenue is currently $177k behind budget. This variance will continue to be monitored closely as revenue has continued to decline since the preparation of the revised budget.
  • Fees and charges are currently $101k ahead of budget. There are a number of variances within this category:

o Refuse Tipping fees are currently $8k ahead of budget.

o Licence Fees are currently $21K ahead of budget due to timing of issuing notices

o Property fees are currently $14k ahead of budget. This is predominantly Property Search fees.

o Other fees and charges are currently $58k ahead of budget, this includes Mossman Van Park currently $12k ahead, Pool $10k ahead and Cemetery Fees are $16k ahead.

  • Grants and subsidies are currently online with budget
  • Interest Income is currently $31k behind budget. $21k is from Rates & utility charges, where some significant property arrears have been paid. Investment interest should start to increase with the receipt of capital grant funds.
  • Other recurrent income is $75k behind budget. This variance is primarily due to the budgeted timing of invoices being issued for works performed for Transport & Main Roads, including works on the pedestrian crossings.

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

  • Materials and services expenditure is currently $988K under budget. This variance is primarily due to timing of receipt of invoices and commencement of operational projects. Committals are currently $5.7m, which include annual purchase orders for major contracts such as ferry, waste removal, etc.
  • Employee benefits are currently $505k 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. Some of this variance will be offset in Materials & Services with the use of Temporary staff to cover vacancies. Labour skills shortage has seen a longer timeframe to fill vacant positions.
  • Depreciation expense is currently $189k under budget. This variance is impacted by the timing of completion of capital projects.
  • Finance costs are currently $2k under budget.


9 Closed Session Table of Contents

9.1 Confidential 254J 3 G Local Government Regulation 2012 – Road Encroachment Lot 1 RP748285 Whiteley Road, Miallo