Fiery Council Meeting Sees Eventual Approval of Aquatic Precinct but Denies Ferry Motion

aquatic park port douglas

In a fiery Council meeting held this morning, despite determined objection by the Mayor, the recommendation to build an aquatic precinct at Jalunbu Park was passed. Support for this location is based on overwhelming results from lengthy public consultation.

Cr Zammataro’s Notice of Motion to regarding Daintree Ferry was also rejected by the Mayor.

If you missed the lively meeting, it can be viewed at : https://douglas.qld.gov.au/council-meetings/council-meeting-live-stream/


Aquatic Precinct Locked in for Port Douglas

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 in Port Douglas.

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 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.

The results of the consultation were brought to today’s Council meeting for the final location to be decided by Council resolution.


With the exception of Cr Kerr, all Councillors supported the overwhelming results of the public consultation on the aquatic precinct for Port Douglas, supporting going ahead at Jalunbu Park.

Cr Kerr spent significant time criticising community groups such as DSSG, and the potential for lengthy environmental protests over the removal of melaleucas at the proposed site but had no support from fellow Councillors for not heeding the public response.

Cr Zammataro, in support of the motion stated succinctly that the recommendations from public consultation are patently clear. He suggested that the Mayor’s opposition did not place value in the conclusive findings of the public consultation.

Cr Scomazzon reiterated the need to respect public opinion.  She openly supported Cr Noli for transparency in the motion, and suggested Councillors needed to note the strong public comments in the findings, “ to get on with it” and “to make it happen.”

[See pp39-42 of the consultation report for overwhelming public sentiment to just ‘get it done.’]

Cr Mckeown stated that he will respect decision of public but personally held the opinion that Reynolds Park would have been a better choice.

Cr Noli closed the debate, noting the Mayor’s time consuming “pontification” and opinion, when ultimately,“the Consultation has the facts.”

Four Councillors voted in favour of the motion, with Cr Kerr against.

Council:

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.


In 5

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.


Concerns Raised About the Jalunbu Park Location

While Jalunbu was selected by nearly double the number of respondents than Reynolds Park, an analysis of the engagement findings was done to identify any concerns there may be in the community about the splash park being in this location.

The Port Douglas Surf Life Saving Club indicated a preference for Reynolds Park. From their experience, Jalunbu Park was a place of refuge for people from strong SE winds, and when large events occurred at the beach, activities often flowed over into park.

Douglas Shire Sustainability Group [DSSG] does not support a splash park in either location. Jalunbu Park, DSSG believes, would require a lot of fill, avoidance or change to the waterway and the sacrifice of large Melaleuca trees – part of the remnant littoral forest. DSSG preference was to keep our natural open park spaces as they provide a public health benefit.

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