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Wednesday 11 April 2012

Cochrane's lonely lunch

Margaret Cochrane
Margaret Cochrane celebrates Easter Monday with a BBQ in Port Douglas.

Aspiring Mayor Margaret Cochrane visited Port Douglas and Mossman on Monday to campaign for support from the north of the region.

Unfortunately, few members of the community were present to hear her thoughts at a sausage sizzle in Port Douglas, and she acknowledged the timing was poor but unavoidable due to a hectic schedule.

Cr Cochrane cited a lack of communication with residents as a contributing factor to the growing push for deamalgamation, and highlighted the recent coconut palm removal and lagoon design as examples where Council's consultation broke down.

She said a lot of the problems were due to the "tyranny of distance" with the Council's base in Cairns, and vowed to establish more open lines of communication.

Despite this, Cr Cochrane does not support holding Council meetings at their Mossman offices saying it was too expensive to transport all of the divisional councilors to the area.

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She proposed more informal quarterly catch ups whereby residents could meet and talk to the region's councilors at locations such as Anzac Park.

On the issue of deamalgamation, Cr Cochrane believes there is currently insufficient income generated from the Douglas region to cover the costs of running an independent Shire, estimating current revenue at $34 million.

She said she was concerned a re-formed Douglas region would see the same massive increases in rates as other deamalgamated councils.

Making flouride in the water supply optional, having a works department based in Mossman, and seeing local businesses submitting tenders for large landscaping and infrastructure projects were things Cr Cochrane would like to see happen should she become Mayor after the 28 April elections.

Cochrane's Community Alliance team will not be running a candidate in Division 10.

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Michelle , , 13-04-12 14:56:
Remember Margaret only recently thought it more beneficial to the community to apply for a grant for an upgrade to a road in her Division than for our waterfront project. Let's get connected, indeed!
Cr Margaret Cochrane, , 12-04-12 19:58:
Keith,
Happy to support de-amalgamation as it is obvious that this is the feeling of the community, but in the meantime I am prepared to listen and talk directly with the community to help with issues and concerns. My visit last weekend, although the numbers were small, was very informative, as many situations were unknown to me. We, as Councillors, are separated from operational issues and I found some of the current practices not acceptable and would be keen to reverse these. The Amalgamation was always going to be difficult and I can understand the community not feeling connected, unfortunately the community never will feel connected because of the tryanny of distance. It is a very different case with two councils being around one another with an amalgamation but when there is an hour's drive and no connectivity in sight it is extremely difficult to make it work.
I am prepared to work with your communities. Happy to come up and discuss with you if you wish, just give me a ring. 0419 706 372
Steve Turner, , 12-04-12 18:19:
I look back on the days of Douglasshire with affection - although at the time I pulled my hair out over excesses, infighting, and poor management - eg the new Daintree Ferry, the fight with the developers of the Beach Club, the lack of awareness of the attitude of the developers of the Coconut Grove to retaining trees the DSC said had to be retained, the DSC permitted massive developments to take place in Port without consequential upgrades of essential services and faculties (like an assured water supply). It would be great to think that a reformed DSC would ride to our rescue........but I have my doubts. Meanwhile I think Julia Leu does an excellent job. If we could get an independent council back at an affordable price I would, on balance prefer that. But the council is only as good as its officers and elected members
Steve , , 12-04-12 15:39:
"Cochrane's Community Alliance team will not be running a candidate in Division 10" - wow that is a contradiction about being alligned to OUR community! If you want my vote Marg, you should have had a local candidate who could have advised you and perhaps (low and behold) taught you something about our unique area and its unique requirements - we have had enough of the ineffectual and self centred "Julia" who seeks quick, easy fixes rather than anything that really manages matters for a better future! She says one thing to your face and stabs the communitiy's desires in the back when it comes to advising council....still a Berwick puppet really.
Keith Pitt, , 12-04-12 12:42:
You just lost my vote Margaret. You have shown that you will not be a better Mayor than Val (hopefully people won't vote for her either) as you cannot communicate with the outer cairns Region. If you want votes you need to listen to your voters and the community outside 4870. The former Douglas Region was sustainable and could manage to stay financially stable. When the CRC took over, the region went into the RED. Then CRC voted to throw away 23 million dollars in State Government funds that saw this region having the cleanest water in the world and substitute it for inconsistent levels of fluoride and chlorine. When Jason C showed the Gazette that his tap water had higher chlorine levels than his pool, alarms bell should have rung. Germany has all but outlawed the use of such chemicals in drinking water, yet we still add them??????????? Their is no option, but to take these chemicals out of our water. If you put a works department in Mossman, does this mean council will buy back all of the plant equipment that was sold. Does larger landscape projects mean less parking?? If you are not willing to support de-amalgamation, maybe you shouldn't come here looking for too much support as this our number one priority. The only reason Val has supported it. is because she knows she's on the outer.
Magda Cordingley, , 12-04-12 10:50:
Cr Margaret Cochrane wants dog owners to pay five years up front on their registrations. Perhaps this will help pay for her rather large tribe of helpers or at least for their expenses.
Cr Margaret Cochrane, , 12-04-12 08:34:
Just to clarify the point about Council meetings in Mossman. The community cannot have input into these meetings and the attendance shows that the community are not supportive of just sitting in the Chamber listening to procedures. The expense comes in with the amount of staff who have to travel to the meeting, this time and money can be better spent in hands on work and delivering services to the community.
I am proposing a more informal meet and greet with the community -- Community Chat sessions --just with the Councillors at the Chambers or at Port, could be in the Community hall where people feel comfortable to attend and discuss their issues. I would propose to do this on a three monthly basis to listen to the community concerns in your area. Let's get connected!
Gail , , 11-04-12 21:18:
Lonely it may be Marge- but that's one helluva large lunch.

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