Council offers feedback on multi-million-dollar marina development

Published Wednesday 16 December 2015

Douglas Shire Council has advised developers of the Port Douglas Reef Marina to include suitable provisions for the commercial fishing industry and public access to the Waterfront foreshore before lodging a Development Application.

Council received a pre-lodgement enquiry from the marina developers which outlines various aspects of the proposed multi-million-dollar redevelopment.

In response, Council has provided developers with initial feedback to take into consideration before a formal Development Application is lodged. Potential issues raised by Council based on information provided in the prelodgement enquiry include:

  • Council will not support a Development Application that does not satisfactorily address and give certainty to the commercial fishing operations currently undertaken within the precinct. This will require agreement to be reached among all relevant stakeholders;
  • The Slipway must be retained until such time as the capacity of the existing slipway is established in the Port Douglas South Waterfront Planning Area, or as otherwise approved by Council;
  • With regard to the Waterfront walkway, Council requires implementation of the boardwalk generally as depicted in the Port Douglas Waterfront North Planning Area Code as opposed to a floating walkway; and
  • Council is opposed to any small-scale subdivisions that fragment the site into small landholdings for separate disposal.

Mayor Julia Leu said it was heartening to see the marina developers making progress and engaging with Council in the planning process.

“The developers are working on some exciting concepts including an arbour park to connect the marina entrance to the town centre and public plaza which includes cafes, dining and entertainment,” Mayor Leu said.

“However it is vital that the marina redevelopment does not diminish the capacity of the commercial fishing industry and provides adequate public access along the foreshore and these are elements which would need to be demonstrated before Council would consider granting a Development Application."

Discussing the outcome of today’s pre-lodgement enquiry, one of the The Reef Marina owners and developers Andrew Hooper-Nguyen said they were delighted that Council unanimously recognised the need to regenerate the Port Douglas waterfront.

“Our draft master plan envisages vibrant public spaces, including a central plaza for al fresco dining and a waterfront walkway from which to experience the sublime views across the Coral Sea and Daintree. A landscaped arbour park will provide a strong pedestrian link between the marina and the Port Douglas town centre,” said Hooper-Nguyen. 

At the meeting, Cr Carey stated he was happy for the most part that the proposal attempted to support the Waterfront Master Plan Principles and ideals.  However he said the proposed relocation of the commercial fishing operations to the south east corner of the marina was not acceptable, given the land referred to as Lot 96 is reserve land and not for commercial fishing purposes.

Councils’ town planning considerations state that the proposal includes the construction of a mooring facility that attaches to land at Lot 96 on SP134234. However Lot 96 is not land that is under control of the proponent and is not part of the land described in the pre-lodgement enquiry.

Cr Carey stated it was presumptuous of The Reef Marina developers to think that this would potentially become a matter for the Council and fisherman to sort out, as there is nothing in the pre-lodgement documentation that suggests any works will be carried out on Lot 96 to cater for the commercial fishing fleet.

Cr Clarke asked if the land use of lot 96 could be converted to commercial use, to which the CEO Linda Cardew responded that she would be hesitant to answer that question outside the context of the report currently on the table.

“We need to leave the report as it is with the planners and any commercial negotiations or discussions with the Department need to be proposed separate to the Councils’ considerations in this report,” advised Ms Cardew.

Cr Clarke stated that he believed the land could be converted to commercial use.

Mr Hooper-Nguyen advised that they have and will continue to engage with the commercial fishermen, to achieve a positive outcome for all parties concerned.

“We have been working closely with the commercial fishermen and share a vision of an exciting 'seafood precinct' at the southern end of the marina basin including dedicated trawler berths and fresh seafood sales.

“The adjacent land is controlled by the Council and we look forward to partnering with Council and the fishermen to realise this vision,” he said.

The location of where the slipway would be relocated had not been set out in the pre-lodgement proposal and Mayor Leu stated that Councils’ expectations were very clear that ministerial directions concerning the Port Douglas waterfront must be adhered to concerning the commercial fishing fleet, public access and the slipway.

Referring to the slipway, Mr Hooper-Nguyen advised that “we don't believe that heavy industry has a place in the Port Douglas tourist centre.”

Mayor Leu advised that Council looks forward to continued discussions with The Reef Marina developers to reach an outcome that is beneficial for all parties.