Douglas Business & Tourism special award recipients


Karlie Brady


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Salsa Bar & Grill was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Image: Vasco Gonsalves.

While a slew of public voted awards were handed out to businesses on Friday night at the 2019 Douglas Business & Tourism Awards, a small number of special awards were also presented.

The special awards are decided on by a panel of previous award winners and recognise the outstanding contributions businesses have made to the Douglas Shire.

Hall of Fame

The 2019 Douglas Business and Tourism Hall of Fame Inductee went to Salsa Bar & Grill for over 22 years of excellent service to the Port Douglas community.

Head chef and co-owner Bill Conway opened the original Salsa Bar & Grill on Macrossan street.

Co-owner Rhys Bawden soon joined after walking into Salsa one day and never leaving.

After five successful years on Macrossan Street, Salsa relocated to the elegant Queenslander on Wharf Street where it still sits to this day.

Mr Bawden said it was a huge privilege to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday and credited Salsa’s long-running success to their staff.

“Our staff are very hard workers, the award is not just for the restaurant, it is also for them,” he said.

“Consistency will always be our driving force, whether it's through our food or our service and that all comes back to our stuff. If it wasn't for them we wouldn't have a restaurant.

“The way the awards were conducted this year gave our restaurant the ability to invite a lot more staff so it was really nice to celebrate with everyone that has worked so hard for us over the years,” he said.

Excellence in Art

In its inaugural year, Call of the Running Tide Exhibition, was awarded the Diane Cilento Excellence in Art.

The award this year celebrates the work of a group of individuals brought together by their love of art and their passion for the environment.

During the festival, which involved 28 artists and 150 local performers, over 50 artworks were on display in the community, featuring environmental sculptures, multimedia projections, artist performances, and educational environmental stalls.

Curator, Jill Chism, said the festival was well received by the community because it encompassed both a high standard of art and culture and was largely about the environment, which is a timely issue.

“This award I think is a gift to everyone that put into the event. The whole team worked really hard to get the festival across so many venues,” she said.

“It’s great for all of us to see that we have been recognised in this way.”

Business Excellence

The Douglas Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence award was presented to AlphaCool by Chamber President Liz Ross on Friday night.

Owner Clint Hastie said receiving the award came as a complete shock.

“We appreciate the support from the community in recognition for our work over the years,” he said.

“It is a total team effort, we are a little family up here and customer service is a high priority of mine and it seems to have rubbed off on them.”

Environmental Sustainability

Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Sustainability was awarded to Port Douglas Recycling.

In only its second year, this business has grown from strength to strength, delivering an eco-friendly recycling alternative that the Douglas Shire has been quick to embrace.

Port Douglas Recycling has ploughed over $480,000 back into the Douglas Shire’s economy and has processed an impressive 4.5 million containers, bottles and cans.

Owner Stacy Wilkinson said when he opened the business by himself he didn’t expect for it to grow so big, and now he has been able to employ four new staff members.

“I couldn’t have done it by myself, they have done more than me and it is defiantly a team effort,” he said.

“The support from the community has been overwhelming and Council has been brilliant.

“To win this award feels amazing, we didn’t even expect to be in the running,” Mr Wilkinson said.

Lifetime Contribution

The Lifetime Contribution by An Individual to Douglas Business and Tourism award went to Rob West from BTS Tours.

Mr West founded BTS 34 years ago and has been pioneering tours through the rainforest, the Bloomfield, and Cooktown ever since.

Mr West said he was thankful for the award and implored everyone to remember they belong to the one region and if everyone can put that region first, all businesses will benefit.

Video: See Rob West’s acceptance speech below

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