Mayor Leu open to exploring 'community's appetite' for lagoon


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Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu says she is currently focused on other priorities but was open to exploring a swimming lagoon for Port Douglas. IMAGE: Newsport.

DOUGLAS Shire Mayor Julia Leu is open to exploring the prospect of a swimming lagoon in Port Douglas.

Leu was heavily involved in plans for a lagoon to be built back in 2009 when a new waterfront master plan for the town was adopted by the Cairns Regional Council.

She said the Douglas Council was currently prioritising other projects along the waterfront and across the Shire, but was open to considering the concept ‘in the future’.

“Rather than get bogged down in the debate over a lagoon pool, Douglas Shire Council has been concentrating on other elements of the Port Douglas Master Plan that can progress without revisiting the whole project,” Leu said.

“In saying that, the community’s appetite for a swimming lagoon and the social and financial implications of a lagoon pool are sure to be explored further by Council.”

The Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail, drainage and visual improvements to Rex Smeal and Market Park, and rejuvenating the Sugar Wharf were all on the immediate radar according to Leu. Council was also in the process of assessing a $100 million waterfront development by The Reef Marina set to completely transform the area if approved.

Leu said a lagoon in Port Douglas was ‘essentially shelved’ in 2010 after the Cairns Regional Council failed to provide any significant budget for it.

Of more than 500 people involved in the community consultation process, 71 per cent supported its construction in Port Douglas. A total of 73 percent identified the area between the Sugar Wharf and the Combined Club as the preferred location for the lagoon.

“The Cairns Regional Council also put forward a number of Cairns-related major infrastructure projects ahead of the Port Douglas Master Plan when applying for major infrastructure funding with the Federal and State Governments during this period,” Leu said.

Although no recent research has been conducted into the feasibility of a swimming lagoon, the Mayor said any renewed plans would be considered ‘on its merits’.

“Council is open to considering all projects that are sustainable, affordable and supported by our communities,” she said.

“Any revised concept for a swimming lagoon in Port Douglas would need to be carefully assessed on its merits.

“To date, Council has had other infrastructure priorities including the Daintree Gateway, the Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail, a new reservoir for Port Douglas and major upgrades to water and wastewater assets.

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