DOUGLAS SHIRE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION INC.

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  • 10 Apr 2021 4:08 PM | Sylvia (Administrator)

    Is Council considering removing coconut palms from our beach foreshore or reducing access points to our beaches?  The Douglas Shire Council is developing Foreshore Management Plans for Wonga Beach, Newell Beach, Cooya Beach, Four Mile Beach and Oak Beach which will determine how our beaches are managed.  The Council is currently running a survey as part of a community consultation process.  Some questions in the survey may give us clues about the direction being considered i.e. coconut palms are listed with lantana and singapore daisy as  “invasive” species  that should be removed.  Another survey question asks  “do you support minimising the number of access paths to the beach…?” and “should informal private access paths be removed?”  Make sure you have your say and carefully consider how you respond.  Go to the following link to complete the survey  Douglas Foreshore Community Survey (surveymonkey.com).  Remember you need to complete a survey for each beach.

  • 11 Jan 2021 11:46 AM | Sylvia (Administrator)

    At the December Douglas Shire Council meeting, the Mayor stated that “the majority of the community has spoken” in favour of the two ferry option.   For clarity, there were 3,409 responses to the Douglas Shire Council (DSC) survey.   Nearly 20% of those respondents were not from the Shire (neither a ratepayer or resident).    Only 22% of Douglas Shire residents and ratepayers responded to the survey.    In effect only 8% of the Shire’s residents and ratepayers voted for a two ferry option.  While the survey participation was significantly greater than the survey conducted by the previous Council, it can hardly be called the majority of the Shire.

    The consultants engaged at considerable expense by Council, recommended a bridge as the best option.  The DSRA poll showed 64% of respondents (all ratepayers), voted in favour of the bridge. Quite a different result from the DSC survey. 

    We all know you can spin statistics in favour of any argument.  However, given that the DSC survey (not referendum) was simplistic and with very little (if any) discussion about it’s statistical validity, it is concerning that it seems to be the primary tool determining the Councils decision on this.

    At the recent DSC meeting, Councillor Scomazzon was the only Councillor who acknowledged and showed concern that it is the ratepayers and tourist operators who will shoulder the cost of the two ferry option (estimated at a 2.75% increase in rates) and that more consideration should be given on the matter.

    Do we really have a long term sustainable vision for Cape Tribulation?  It has been estimated that in 5yrs time (possibly less with the projected increase in domestic travel), waiting periods with two ferries will be at the same levels they are now with one ferry.   Will we then be voting for four ferries?  Is Council just kicking the can down the road on this?

    To view the full DSC Dec meeting click on the link https://douglas.qld.gov.au/council-meetings/council-meeting-live-stream/

  • 11 Jan 2021 11:42 AM | Sylvia (Administrator)

    In response to DSRA’s   request for an update, the Douglas Shire Council CEO Mark Stoermer advised that Councillors have met to discuss the review of the General Rate Category system which the DSRA have been pushing for since before the last Council election.    This grossly inequitable system places an unfair burden on owners of property on Community Title Schemes, (Category 8) and is in desperate need of a review.     We look forward to being proactively engaged  and consulted by Council on this matter.  The DSC has also lobbied for some time to have a Land Valuation review in the Shire. It has been over 4 years since the last Valuation.   The CEO advised that a request has  been submitted and they are waiting for a response from the State Government.

  • 11 Jan 2021 11:37 AM | Sylvia (Administrator)

    The Queensland Local Government Association (QLGRA) reported that the Queensland Labour Government rushed through a Bill allowing the “next in line” to serve out the term of a departed Mayor if a vacancy occurs within 12 months of the election,  effectively becoming a “mayor in waiting”.   The QLGRA  opposed this Bill saying that a By-election should occur, but the QLGRA recommendations were ignored.   However,  when the Rockhampton Mayor resigned, the State Government didn’t appear to like the “next in line” so did a back flip and introduced retrospect laws to prevent this from happening.   To read more click here https://www.qlgra.org.au/qlgra-insights-december

  • 11 Nov 2020 2:18 PM | Sylvia (Administrator)

    Douglas Shire Council CEO (Mark Stoermer) attended the October DSRA Committee meeting.   At the meeting Mark provided an update on the status of the review of the General Rate Category system.    Mark  advised that a consultant had been appointed to assist with the task and the Council’s objective was to have the review complete by the end of the financial year.  The Committee sought assurance that the DSRA (who have been the driver of this project), will be consulted and engaged with during the review process.  The Committee also sought assurance that a well over due Land Valuation review (not done for 4 years) will also be conducted. The DSRA had submitted a request for amendments to the Concealed Leak Policy and asked for an update on the status of this policy which is substandard compared to other Council policies of this kind.  Mark reported that the introduction of “Smart Metres” is expected to have a significant impact in this area by providing ratepayers with early notification to households when significant increases in water usage are detected.   While this is welcome news, the DSRA still has an expectation that the amendments put forward should be considered. 

    The status of the Shire’s economy was discussed,  Mark put forward that the economic sustainability of the Shire is dependent on population growth.  Mark reported that using the Ansoff Matrix model, Council has identified retirees and pre-retirees as a market the Shire should be aiming for.   However, Mark was quick to point out that growth is dependent on infrastructure, most importantly water and waste management infrastructure.  Council’s focus is to build this infrastructure as a matter of urgency.     The Committee requested an up-date on the status of the DSC  Economic Development Group.   The Committee reiterated it’s view that an Economic Development Group should be convened as a matter of urgency and include all key stakeholder groups in the Shire.

    An update on the status of  the “RV Friendly” Shire  was requested, Mark  advised that this was being taken forward  by the Economic Development Officers.   It was acknowledged that potential revenue to the Mossman area in particular, will be significant as a result of this initiative. 

     The Committee expressed their appreciation to Mark for his time and the information provided. 

  • 10 Nov 2020 12:42 PM | Sylvia (Administrator)

    A good turnout with robust and respectful debate made the DSRA hosted “Meet the Candidates" event a success.   Thanks to all who helped make the day a success. 

  • 10 Nov 2020 12:06 PM | Sylvia (Administrator)
    The results of the DSRA survey  indicates that there is a clear preference for a Bridge option (51% of respondents), with 27% selected the One Ferry Option (no change) and finally 22% for the Two Ferry Option.     A sample size of  5% - 10% is considered statically relevant and we received a 20% response rate so we are pleased that the result is considered statistically relevant.  It should be noted that there were 3 conditions applied regardless of option selected.
    • All options must have a toll system which will as a minimum cover costs
    • Funding of a bridge build is contingent on State and/or Federal  funding.
    • Traffic flow into the Daintree can be managed if needed i.e. a boom gate system
    The DSRA have provided the Douglas Shire Council with details of the results. 
  • 9 Oct 2020 8:29 AM | Sylvia (Administrator)

    Surprisingly Councillor Noli seems to believe that it is appropriate for Council staff  to report directly  to Councillors and not the CEO.   The Mayor strongly disagreed at the recent Douglas Shire Council meeting.   Click here to watch the full meeting https://douglas.qld.gov.au/council-meetings/council-meeting-live-stream/ .    To read the highlights from meeting click here .      https://douglas.qld.gov.au/douglas-news-bites-september-council-meeting-2/

  • 9 Oct 2020 8:22 AM | Sylvia (Administrator)

    There seems confusion by some in the community about the difference between a poll, referendum and a survey.    There is a misguided view that if the majority of respondents to  the Council’s survey (no matter who they are), vote in favour of either the Bridge or Ferry,  Council will be bound by that result.     Nothing could be further from the truth.   The Council’s very simplistic survey is one of a number of community consultation processes.  Ultimately, it is the responsibility of Council members to make a decision in consideration of all the information at their disposal.    Ratepayers, whether residing in the Shire or not, are a key stakeholder.    The survey inexplicably separated residential from non-residential ratepayers.  The decision made by Council could have a significant impact on ALL ratepayers in the event of any rate increases.  It is a reasonable expectation that when all data is collated, the report to council should include a summary of the views of ALL ratepayers.   Make your views known, complete the survey  ( https://douglassurvey.com/ ) and send  your comments in an email to communityliaison@douglas.qld.gov.au, your emailed comments will be just as valuable as completing the survey.

  • 7 Oct 2020 8:25 AM | Sylvia (Administrator)

    The Douglas Shire Ratepayers Association is hosting a "Meet the Candidates" event at Palmer's Golf Course on Sat 24th Oct,  2pm.   You will have the opportunity to get to know the candidates for Cook in the up coming State election in a relaxed environment.    After a brief introduction from each candidate, attendees can ask questions of the candidates to help you make your decision on election day.   We suggest you book a table and come early for lunch.   We look forward to seeing you there!

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Email - info@douglasratepayers.org.au

Address - PO Box 6, Port Douglas  QLD 4877

ABN 46 257 394 374

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