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/