Not good enough, Mayor admits

Monday 12 March 2012

Not good enough, Mayor admits

After the public furore over the removal of the coconut palms on Four Mile Beach, Mayor Val Schier agreed that there is room for improvement in the way the community is engaged about Council projects.

Cr Schier said the effectiveness of the consultation fluctuated and described a "disconnect" between Council officers and residents.

"I think that the community engagement is variable. It goes from being very good to really needing improvement.

"You've got Council officers thinking they've done adequate consultation and some community members saying they haven't."

She said the consultation with the community on the Port Douglas Masterplan was "extensive" and "thorough," while the revegetation program which resulted in the removal of 49 coconut palms was "inadequate."

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At the time of speaking with Cr Schier late Thursday afternoon, The Newsport Poll indicated around 95% of respondents had not been aware of the Council's community consultation to remove the coconut palms.

She agreed that figure was likely reflective of the wider community.

"My understanding is that other than a handful of people who live in that area, the only other notification was in the Gazette two weeks ago I think, which quite clearly a lot of people didn't see."

Cr Schier said that it was the role of elected representative to formulate the strategic direction of the region, while the operational division of Council was responsible for implementing that plan.

She said it was "absolute nonsense" that there is a deliberate campaign by Council to undermine the natural values of Port Douglas.