Cr Bruce Clarke confirms; â€œI will run again as Councillorâ€
Published Tuesday 26 January 2016
Today Newsport begins its coverage of the March 19 Local Government elections. Newsport staff will be talking to the incumbents, candidates, address the key issues and provide opinion.
Cr BRUCE CLARKE: Incumbent
After having served as Councillor for the past two years, Cr Clarke confirms he will run independently in the upcoming 2016 Council election.
Cr Clarke said one of his major achievements during his two-year term has been advocating for the new aged care facility in Mossman as well as a residential subdivision in Wonga.
Cr Clarke said while three new subdivisions, one in Mossman and two in Wonga, will give people a choice of where to live, he is not keen on overdevelopment in the region.
“It should progress with the township’s growth rate,” he said.
In terms of business and economic development, Cr Clarke said the recent inaugural 2015 Douglas Business Forum has the potential to have a positive impact on the economic growth of the region moving forward, provided the momentum continued.
With the ongoing matter surrounding the Port Douglas Waterfront, Cr Clarke said his interests lay in its protection of the fisherman and slipway.
“The preservation of the fishing fleet is very important and it is one of the conditions of redevelopment as well as a new slipway being operational, before the current one is closed,” he said.
Another project Cr Clark stated as a priority when he was appointed as Councillor two years ago was the establishment of a botanical garden in the region. The Mossman Botanical Garden is a project he believes will benefit the region.
“The Mossman Botanic Garden MBG project will escalate the tourism industry and will house an up to date tourist information centre. It won’t stop tourists visiting the Daintree, it will give them a hint of what they will see when they get there,” he said.
Also from an educational perspective, Cr Clarke said the MBG opportunities and potential are enormous.
“With possible exchange students, a TAFE as well as a CQU campus, Mossman Botanic Gardens has the potential to benefit education in the region,” he said.
Other projects and issues Cr Clarke advised he would be advocating for are the Newell Beach Boat Ramp, as well as the internet issues and NBN, stating that Cooya Beach has very unreliable connectivity.
With Council still waiting on Federal funding, the $14.4 million dollar Water Reservoir Project has so far received $5 million in funding from State Government with a potential $4 million expected from the Federal Government. That is a total of $9 million in funding with the balance of $5.4 million dollars expected to come the Douglas Shire Council pockets.
With the new Water Reservoir Project being announced as a major infrastructure project, Cr Clarke said the importance of this project is paramount.
“If the Douglas Shire was hit with a natural disaster our water supply will be affected. Port Douglas only has 36hrs of water and three days for Mossman,” he said.
Constituents have a right to know that good Councillors are working with good Councils. Regarding the current Douglas Shire Council Administration, Newsport asked Cr Clarke if, as a Councillor, he was satisfied with the current Council Administration as it now stands.
“Council’s Administration is functioning okay and there is an 88 per cent unanimous vote across issues. However, there is room for improvement in communication with Councillors. There must be an obligation through resolution to inform Councillors of decisions made by the Administration so that we can let our constituents, the public and rate payers know,” he said.
Cr Clarke’s priorities for the Douglas Shire over the next four years through to 2020 include;
- Continued financial stability
- Upgrade of ongoing services including rubbish and waste
- Water quality supply
- More road maintenance
- Port Douglas Waterfront Master Plan
- Security of Port Douglas fishing fleet and slipway
- Mossman Sugar Festival
- Upgrade of line marking and signage through the Shire
- Effective Tourist Information Centres in Port Douglas and Mossman
- More promotion of businesses in the Daintree and north of the Daintree River
- Increased communication between Council and the public
As an independent candidate, Cr Clarke said it's “conservative common sense” and “listening to people” that will be part of his campaign strategy.
Referring to Thomas Jefferson’s philosophy, Cr Clarke said “you have to speak to people, listen to everyone’s opinion. By listening to everybody you can find out what the majority want.
“I won’t make promises, I’ll make strategies, so when public opinion changes so do the strategies,” he said.