Council approves Marina expansion

Tuesday January 20 2015, 9:45pm

A substantial upgrade to the Port Douglas Reef Marina will proceed after being approved with conditions by Douglas Shire Council on Tuesday. 

The upgrade will add 37 additional berths to the marina, including 19 berths capable of taking 22-metre vessels and 14 berths capable of taking vessels over 30 metres. 

The Reef Marina has been turning away clients in the lucrative - and growing - superyacht market for some time due to lack of space.

Council voted unanimously (except of Councillor Terry Melchert, who was excused) to approve the upgrade, with the exception of several proposed ‘utility berths.

These berths could have potentially been used by commerical fishing operators but council officers argued the utility berths would cause too many traffic issues along Wharf Street, in addition to other violations of the council’s planning scheme. 

The Marina will now begin the tender process to select a construction contractor for the upgrade, with the project cost expected to be about $1.5 million. 

Reef Marina general manager Rob Cruz welcomed council’s ‘well-considered’ decision and said Port Douglas and the surrounding region would reap the economic benefits of the upgrade. 

“We’re very excited and we’re looking forward to starting work,” Mr Cruz said. 

Deepening of the marina and other preliminary works have already been carried out. 

Depending on when a contractor is selected, construction is expected to begin early this year.