We ask you to provide your full name and valid email address to ensure your comments' legitimacy is acknowledged. The Editor reserves the right to edit comments. Click here for full publishers terms and conditions for reader comments.
Dian Padovan, Cassowary, 14-02-13 08:06:
It seems to me that Ken Dobbs and his organisation that claims to represent the Douglas Rresidents and Ratepayers must have very deep pockets to fund the proliferation of Vote No signs that we see around town, on the highways, and around Mossman. They are spending big money on what seems to me to be primarily aimed at protecting their own vested interests, and are not in the least concerned about the Shire as a whole or how we are being ignored and neglected by Cairns.
It would be interesting to know what sort of applications some of these members have, or plan to have, before the Cairns Council for sub-divisions and development that they fear will not get approval from a re-formed Douglas Shire. Or how much they believe their own individual business will gain from being affiliated with a larger Council like Cairns, rather than protect and preserve the iconic area that we live in.
We are Rate payers and they certainly do not represent us. I would much rather risk moderate rate increases from a de-amalgamated Council that can control its spending, than have to put up with the massive rate increases of 44% that we have seen under the Cairns Council. Our rate money that is being spent in Cairns with only the crumbs from the table being spent locally.
ANN SCOTT, Port Douglas, 13-02-13 11:48:
It is my understanding that Mr Dobbs and Mr Hooper have declined to attend the meeting to be held by Friends of Douglas Shire tomorrow evening.
If it is so important for the former Douglas Shire to remain as part of the CRC why are they not willing to speak in an open forum? Mr Dobbs claims to represent the Douglas residents & ratepayers. I am perplexed as to why a media outlet such as yours is not enquiring a little further than you are to establish who is behind the People of Port Douglas. This is an important issue and if they feel so strongly about our community they should make themselves available for analysis.
Rob Lapaer, Cape Tribulation, 12-02-13 01:53:
The websites www.peopleofdouglas.org , www.happywithcairns.org and Bob Manning's letter to the Gazette have unmasked most of FODS claims so it should be clear to people by now that voting yes in the referendum means they are taking a big leap in to the dark unknown. It is totally unclear what the financial costs will be, we still have not seen any capable candidates announce they will be available as councillor so we have no idea who would take charge of the new shire. Splitting from Cairns without knowing the costs or who will be in govt is a big and expensive gamble that could cost us dearly.
Barry O'Brien, Port Douglas, 11-02-13 16:11:
De-amalgamate or Disintegrate?
Douglas Shire operated successfully for over 100 years. It is on record as having a sound financial position prior to amalgamation (quoted by Ministers Desley Boyle & Andrew Fraser). It is an iconic, desirable destination with natural beauty and unique lifestyle, the envy of many worldwide.
Yes, we must de-amalgamate. Why?
· Since amalgamation with Cairns Regional Council and the introduction of 4 year terms, two Mayors and many Councillors have been removed by dissatisfied voters for non-performance and in-fighting. Douglas is now contributing to the repayment of $92M CRC spiralling debt for a range of Cairns based projects.
· The current CRC Mayor lost $150M Federal Government funding for the Cairns Waterfront Project. The Mayor stated (on PD radio) that Port Douglas Waterfront Development was top priority for CRC. This was then sidestepped to support Cairns CBD Redevelopment. Douglas lost out again and will continue to do so under CRC.
· Currently one Councillor represents the large & diverse Douglas division. In 2016 when divisions will be abolished there is possibility of no Councillor supporting Douglas and the needs of Cairns being prioritised.
· Since amalgamation, CRC rates have risen by approx. 42% and will continue to rise to cover debt repayment, with even less benefits to Douglas area.
· Despite being one of the wettest areas in Australia, Douglas is placed on water restrictions as part of CRC policy. No substantial infrastructure is planned to harness excess wet season water. Additionally Douglas water supply is now loaded with chemicals.
· The successful Douglas Town Plan is likely to soon be incorporated into CRC’s Plan. CRC has stated it intends to loosen development approvals to encourage more development, to the detriment of the iconic Douglas image.
· CRC no longer provides a pre-cyclone clean-up or gives discount on early payment of rates.
· CRC staff drive to Douglas daily, at additional cost to ratepayers. Local contractors are missing out on local Council work contracts.
· Prior to being elected the Mayor promised to replace the 49 iconic coconut palms destroyed on Four Mile Beach by the CRC gardeners. This has not happened. The Mayor said such events would not recur, but another stand of palms were recently removed at the Mossman Cemetery, again without public consultation.
· Remaining part of CRC will not deliver the appropriate infrastructure required to ensure the economic future of Douglas. CRC will sanitise and suburbanise Douglas & Daintree, impacting on tourism and destroying the very reasons residents and visitors are attracted to the area.
History has shown that Governments at all levels cannot be trusted; predicting forecast costing & budget figures to suit their own agendas. This regularly results in undesirable outcomes. Voters should base their decision on facts, not meaningless contrived figures. Vote yes for de-amalgamation and give every Douglas resident the option to choose local candidates for Council.
Peter Wood, Mossman, 09-02-13 20:26:
How are you?
Important questions! Who are these people putting up anti de-amalgamation signs in Port Douglas? Who do they represent? Are they democratic or are representing a special interest investor group in Port Douglas?
If they are the latter then that are sabotaging the de-amalgamation debate in a very undemocratic manner. Yes the big end of town has a voice (of course and always) but not one that is at the substantial expense of many others. This de-amalgamation issue is too serious to be sabotaged by such vested interests.
Just my opinion, but I believe that they need to respect the views of others rather than apparently trying to feather their own nests.
I may be wrong about them. As journalists in Port Douglas, can NewsPort please ask them who they are and report their answer and interests? I'd be pleased to know who they are and what their vested interests are (if any)?
Thank you very much!
P.S. Personally, I feel that the Electoral Commission and State Ombudsman should investigate their role now and and also after the March 9.
Vicente Ferrarella, Buenos Aires Argentina, 04-02-13 23:41:
We have been visiting Port Douglas in March last year and as result of that experience we fell in love with the place, so we made the decision to call Port Douglas home at the end of May this year.
Born in Italy, grow up in Argentina and live in Melbourne since 1980. I'm a Tango Teacher currently working and performing in Buenos Aires Argentina with may partner Isabel.
We are looking forwards to Teach and promote the Argentinean Tango in Port Douglas and Mossman, we hope in time to host Milonga Nights (Social Tango Dancing)in the region.
Isabel Vera & Vicente Ferrarella, Buenos Aires, 04-02-2013
Rob Lapaer, Cape Tribulation, 04-02-13 13:53:
It has just been announced that The Mossman Chamber of Commerce will amalgamate with the Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce.
The local business economy sees and understands the benefits of being larger and stronger and has amalgamated the two Chambers of Commerce.
A decision made on logic and rationale, and in contrast to the amalgamation of the Shires, so far there is no sentimental crowd crying for the good old days of small Chambers of Commerce to be returned....
steve hull, port douglas, 29-01-13 14:09:
Hey Matt,i was just sweltering in this heat and wondered if it was a good time to run that day light saving poll again ;)
Rachel Guest, Port Douglas, 29-01-13 13:44:
Top 10 Songs for Aussie Day? From which era? There is some amazing new Australian music these days.. perhaps Port Douglas should move into the times with both live music and news space count downs. I for 1 would greatly appreciate it.
Wayne Hawke, Port Douglas, 27-01-13 11:53:
In the Gazette last Thursday the 24th Mr. Ken Dobbs placed an advertisement pushing for non de-amalgamation on the basis that if de-amalgamation was successful there were no guarantees that rate rises would not occur,the sustainability of the new council in the long term, the calibre of councillors in the new council.
I agree, but these non guarantees also apply to the current CRC.
Mr.Dobbs also represents the Douglas Residents and Ratepayers Association and WWW.peopleofportdouglas.org
A google search for of both these entities was unsuccessful.
Apparently these are groups of people against de-amalgamation.
How many people are represented by these entities and who are they?
The inference is that these are a significant groups of informed residents and they are wanting to sway voters to vote against deamalgamation. Whilst they remain anonymous they lack credibility.
Douglas region has only one representitive on CRC.
If CRC choose to do away with divisional representation we would most likely have no representation on the CRC. A disaster for our region.
The old Douglas Shire was financially sound and was capable of delivering some significant projects, the now mothballed microfiltration water purification system was one of many.
We had the purist water in Australia, now we have Chlorine and Flouride contaminating our water.
Since amalgamation my rates and charges to CRC have risen over 50%. So much for the theory that larger councils have economies of scale. I urge voters to take the time to get the facts, ask questions to assess the validity of information and not to rely on hearsay before voting day. We only have one chance to get our shire back.