Criticism heaped on Council

Port Douglas waterfront
Council is under renewed pressure over the future of the waterfront. Home page image by folkonfolks.com.

Stakeholders in the future of Port Douglas Waterfront attended what was described as a "fiery" meeting at the Community Hall on Sunday.

Representatives from local fisheries, community groups, and current and former Project Advisory Group members, have criticised Cairns Regional Council over aspects of the Waterfront Masterplan, saying they have deviated on the original plan which had been agreed upon.

Council representatives including Division 10 councillor Julia Leu, Council CEO Lyn Russell, and Douglas Regional Manager Liz Collyer have come under fire from the reconstituted Project Advisory Group.

"As predicted this Council has taken an adamant, dictatorial and totally inflexible stance toward any matter put before them regarding the concerns of the community," a progress report from the Group said.

"The seriousness of the issues evaded and ignored by Leu and Collyer are now bringing forward ramifications and consequences being recognised by Federal and State Governments.

"If this Regional Council chooses not to listen to its community then it may just listen to State or Federal Governments (Whoever they may end up being)."

Respected local architect Gary Hunt said members of Council have no regard for the environment of the town.

"They have no sensitivity to the intrinsic value of Port Douglas," he said, also referring to the Port Douglas Esplanade design and the newly erected fence along the walking path on Island Point.

Mr Hunt stopped short of criticising Mayor Val Schier, saying he felt sorry for her for having to make decisions based on the "flawed" information provided by bureaucrats.

Funding for the project must surely be in doubt with the region's state and federal members (Labor's Jason O'Brien LNP's Warren Entsch) also removing support for plan as it stands.

In The Newsport article 'Cold water thrown on lagoon' (Monday 27 February, 2012), Mr O'Brien said the lagoon construction should be delayed until at least Stage 2 of the plan, but added he was beginning to doubt the need for a lagoon at all.

The Newsport attempted to contact Lyn Russell, Cr Leu, and Cr Schier for comment, however our calls have not been returned at the time of reporting.

Ms Collyer is currently formulating a response and we'll bring it to you as soon as it comes to hand.

Story by Newsport