Concerns grow over possibility of ‘Daintree Blockade’ style protest at Diggers Bridge

MOWBRAY VALLEY

Mark Murray

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(L-R) Susie McMahon and Gary Hunt at Diggers Bridge in the Mowbray Valley. Image: Howard Salkow - Newsport.
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ONE of the Mowbray Valley’s biggest landowners believes the region is headed for a blockade if plans to redevelop Diggers Bridge are not halted.

Gary Hunt, a prominent local architect, said people would ‘chain themselves to the trees’ if Douglas Shire Council began cutting down rain trees to make way for a new two-lane bridge.

And he’s concerned about the media damage it will cause if a ‘Daintree Blockade’ style protest were to erupt at the site.

“As somebody who loves this area I’m very concerned about the reputational damage a story like this could have,” Hunt said.

“I know people are willing to chain themselves to the trees which will be picked up on national television and gain huge mainstream media exposure.

“They’ve (Council) made a fundamental mistake here and no one is game enough to do something about it.”

In confirming that $2.68 million will be spent on the Diggers Bridge replacement project following yesterday’s budget announcement, Mayor Julia Leu said she was aware of talk of a 1983 style blockade.

“Yes, I am aware of this and obviously this is not something we would want,” Mayor Leu told Newsport.

“But, as much I hate to see any trees removed, we cannot avoid this work. It’s budgeted for and will go ahead.

“The current bridge is at a level where it has to be replaced for safety purposes. We’ve had no choice but to make the decision.”

It comes as the Save the Diggers Bridge and the Raintrees group called an emergency meeting at the Port Douglas Community Hall on Friday to discuss their options.

The meeting was attended by Cr Leu and fellow councillors Michael Kerr, Abigail Noli and Roy Zammataro.

Hunt believes the entire project ‘needs to be put on hold’ while other plans are sought.

Much of the concern revolves around the need for a two-lane bridge to replace the current single-lane link.

“I’m prepared to put my own money into this and investigate an alternative,” he said.

“We are also exploring the legality surrounding the consultation process last year.”

 

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