Cooktown's new foreshore precinct leaves Port Douglas residents dry


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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SPLISH SPLASH: The new Waterfront at William Daku Park grand opening opening. Image: Supplied.
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Port Douglas residents will once again be incredulous when they learn that Cook Shire Council’s recently-opened new foreshore activity precinct includes a water park.

The revamped Cooktown Foreshore, featuring a water park and fishing platforms, is now open to families, locals and visitors thanks to $4 million in funding from the Palaszczuk Government.

Cook Shire Mayor Cr Peter Scott said it had been a long road to the completion of the foreshore revitalisation, but it had been worth the wait.

“The facilities that this foreshore offers, such as the children’s water park, BBQ facilities and fishing platforms, will fast become a favourite place for local families and visitors,” Cr Scott said.




But in Port Douglas, residents have readily accepted a swimming lagoon, to match Cairns, is a mere pipe dream.

A swimming lagoon looked all but certain back in 2010 as part of the Port Douglas Waterfront Master Plan adopted by the Cairns Regional Council.

However, it’s believed differences over cost, its location - slated to be near the St Mary’s church - and the de amalgamation from Cairns council largely contributed to the concept being quashed.

But in light of ongoing concerns about crocodile numbers and the length of the stinger season in Far North Queensland, Newsport has over the years been inundated with commentary and questions about a viable swimming alternative for the town.

Some time back, Douglas Shire Council held a public forum on crocodiles in Port Douglas where officers from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) told the community the only way to safeguard against potential attacks was to stay out of the water. 

The possibility of a swimming lagoon has been a hot topic ever since.

“It’s time we again start looking at the lagoon vision in Port Douglas,” local resident Andrew Petrack said at the time.

“The oceans are warm here in the summer months and a lagoon type pool will certainly attract tourists to it and reduce the risk.”

The Cooktown Foreshore Activity Precinct on Webber Esplanade is one of four precincts in the Cook Shire’s Waterfront Master Plan.

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