Chamber release wish list

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Chamber release wish list

The Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce has released their 'wish list' of infrastructure projects they'd like to see underway in 2012.

A statement from the Chamber highlighted a number of projects which they believe are needed to breathe life into the town's flailing economy.

"The Chamber of Commerce has a responsibility to support and encourage infrastructure investment in Port Douglas," the statement read. "Now is the time to bring Port Douglas into the 21st century using significant investment by all levels of government and the private sector to kick start the economic revival of our town."

While the redevelopment of the Waterfront Master Plan has received a setback after funding from the Regional Development Australia Fund was recently declined, the Chamber still believe it to be vital in the town's recovery.

"The redevelopment and upgrade of the marina, fishing harbour and slipway as set out in the Waterfront Master Plan together with the lagoon pool are the key projects that will revive Port Douglas.

"Economic times dictate that the State Government offer a significant financial benefit to the owners of the marina leasehold and allow perpetual tenure.

"On many occasions The Chamber has reminded the community and government that we are a working port and the majority of visitors come here to experience the Great Barrier Reef."

They have also called on the government to assist in the funding of the Sheraton Mirage redevelopment.

"The new owners of the Sheraton Mirage property have put forward a joint venture concept to build a convention forum as part of the redevelopment.

"A private investor and Government working together is a way of achieving results simultaneously for the community and the private operator. Fifteen years ago the Sheraton resort and Marina were vibrant centres of activity; we must restore that vibrancy as the economic success of these facilities benefit the whole of our town."

Chamber committee member Terry Hooper says he is buoyed by the investment the town's major resorts are making.

"The Sheraton and the other major resorts are a trigger to economic development that is happening as we speak.

"The Sheraton people keep things pretty close to their chest (but) if you go and have a look there now things are on the move, the refurbishments are starting.

"They've got a long-term contract with Starwood who are the Sheraton owners so that's always going to go ahead, and to see that Rydges, or QT, have started their refurbishment and want to be a five star property is the best bit of news we've had in a long time."

Other short to medium term projects the Chamber are calling for substantial investment in include:

  • NBN high speed internet
  • Complete esplanade project, Four Mile Beach access
  • Mobility hub including parking, road upgrades and waterfront plaza
  • Macrossan Street upgrade including rubbish bins, street furniture, lighting and vegetation
  • New water reservoir
  • Cyclone shelter
  • Underground electricity
  • Footpaths and street lighting

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