Splash Park? Pool? Lagoon? The Future of a Public Swimming Area to be decided at tomorrow’s Council Meeting


Douglas Shire Council will decide whether to note results of community engagement and feedback regarding the preferred location of a splash park and level of support for a public swimming facility in Port Douglas at tomorrow’s Ordinary Council meeting.



On the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting is the recommendation that Council:
1) Notes the results of the community engagement regarding the preferred location
of a splash park and level of support for a public swimming facility in Port Douglas as per the attached report,
2) Notes that public feedback confirms Jalunbu Park as the preferred location for a splash park,
3) Seeks tenders for the design and then construction of a splash park in Jalunbu Park, and
4) Investigates options for a co-located swimming facility to attract future funding.


Executive Summary


Douglas Shire community engagement was conducted from January through to March 2023 to ascertain
which of two parks, Jalunbu or Reynolds, the community preferred for the location of a Splash
Park.
A secondary purpose of the engagement was to measure the level of support for a public
swimming facility in Port Douglas and to ascertain the community’s preference for either a
50m lap pool or free form lagoon.
An exceptional response to the online survey resulted in achieving statistically verifiable data
as to the community’s preferences. The survey attracted 1239 respondents, which is more
than double the 400 needed to have confidence that the data is representative of the total
population.


The key survey findings were:

  • The community prefers Jalunbu Park 44% over Reynolds Park 24%
  • A public swimming facility in Port Douglas is supported by 73% of respondents
  • Almost two thirds of respondents, 61%, prefer a free form lagoon over a 50-metre lap pool
  • Co-locating a future swimming facility with the splash park was supported by 46% of all survey respondents

Background

At its November 2022 meeting, Douglas Shire Council resolved to consult with the community

for the location of the Port Douglas Splash Park and Water Precinct, and for the results to be

brought back to a Council meeting for the final location to be decided by Council resolution.


Council Comments

Community engagement occurred between January and March 2023. The purpose of the community engagement was to:

  • Capture the views of a wide range of the community.
  • Generate statistically verifiable data from the community on their preferred location.
  • Measure the level of support for a public swimming facility in Port Douglas, either a 50m lap pool or lagoon, on the basis the community understands the ongoing operational costs and the potential impact on their rates and/or reduction in service in other areas.
  • Measure the level of support for whether an additional, future, public swimming facility needed to be co-located with the splash park.

An exceptional response to the online survey resulted in achieving statistically verifiable data

as to the community’s preferences. The survey attracted 1,239 responses including 834 people living across Douglas Shire, from Oak Beach through to Cow Bay and 210 absentee ratepayers.


The key survey findings were:

  • Jalunbu Park preferred by 541 people [44%] versus Reynolds Park preferred by 298 people [24%]
  • The overwhelming reason people gave for preferring Jalunbu Park over Reynolds was proximity to the beach. This was mentioned by almost 70 percent of the 541 people choosing Jalunbu. The second most common reason given was proximity to the surf club. The third most common reason was that people simply preferred the site because it was not on the main road into Port Douglas.
  • Almost three quarters of respondents [73%] said they supported a public swimming facility in

Port Douglas.

  • As expected, support for the swimming facility was higher for those living in Port Douglas and

Craiglie [80%], however support was strong right across the shire. It ranged from a low of 62.5% for people living north of Mossman to Cow Bay, and a high of 85% for those living south of Craiglie through to Oak Beach.

  • Almost two thirds of respondents, 61%, prefer a free form lagoon over a 50-metre lap pool which is preferred by just 15% of the population.
  • As to co-location, the findings were less clear cut. Co-locating a future swimming facility with the splash park was supported by 46% of all survey respondents.
  • Excluding respondents who did not support a swimming facility, 58% said a future swimming facility should be co-located with the splash park.
  • The community sent a strong message that it wants to see the project progress. There are those who would prefer the “Do Nothing” option and 5% did not support a splash park for Port Douglas. The six most mentioned reasons were:
  • There are higher priorities
  • It is unnecessary as we are surrounded by natural creeks, beaches, have a beautiful swimming pool in Mossman and most homes and resorts have a pool.
  • The ongoing operating and maintenance costs will increase rates.
  • Our shire is different to other destinations and will be spoilt
  • Noise and traffic generated by the splash park will negatively impact on immediate neighbours
  • There is insufficient water. Water restrictions are frequently imposed by Council.

It is proposed that Council:

1) Notes the results of the community engagement about the preferred location of a splash park and level of support for a public swimming facility in Port Douglas as per the attached report,

2) Notes that public feedback confirms Jalunbu Park as the preferred location for a splash park,

3) Seeks tenders for the design and then construction of a splash park in Jalunbu Park, and

4) Investigates options for a co-located lagoon to attract future funding.


Financial and Resource Implications

The Queensland Government, via a Special Purpose Grant administered by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning has offered Council $1.5 million ex GST for Splash Parks in Mossman and Port Douglas. The Department initially advised the project/s would need to be completed before 31 May 2023 however the deadline has been extended to September 2024.

Council has allocated $500,000 to go towards the Mossman Splash Park which is currently being constructed at the Mossman Swimming Pool. The balance of $1 million has been allocated towards building a splash park in Port Douglas.

There are also a range of risk management and sustainability implications for the proposal. The full community engagement report can be read here:

https://douglas.qld.gov.au/download/council_meetings/6.3-Port-Douglas-Aquatic-Precinct-Report-on-Engagement-Findings.pdf


DouglasNews.Network will report on the outcome of tomorrow’s meeting.

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