Early survey results show Douglas residents' concerns


Victoria Stone-Meadows


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BIG QUESTIONS: There is still time to complete the Council's survey and influence how rates are spent in the next five years. Image: Newsport.

Roads are the most important focus for Douglas Shire residents, according to preliminary results from the recent Council Corporate Plan survey.

While the deadline for responses is 15 April, Council has crunched the numbers on 654 responses received to date and has released preliminary results for the question that asks residents how they would allocate $100 across various areas of responsibility.

Roads was the most popular answer, followed by parks, gardens and streetscapes; environmental protection, economic development; and water and sewer infrastructure.

The early survey results show differing priorities for residents in different parts of the Shire. 

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Cooya Beach and Port Douglas residents have placed a higher value on parks, gardens and streetscapes than more rural areas who want more money spent on roads and economic development.

Manager of the Port Douglas and District Combined club, Kym Rowley, who is running for Council next year, said the results were not a surprise.

“I don’t find the results surprising as I think these issues form the basis of what Councils are there for,” he said.

“I believe rate payers are a little tied of Council involving themselves in matters outside their roles and responsibilities and they need to get back to basics.”

About half the respondents so far have listed tourism as a key priority, along with protecting the environment and diversifying the economy.

“We know tourism represents about 80 per cent of Douglas Shire’s economy, which is why we are one of the highest tourism funders per capita among local governments in the country,” Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said.

“The data shows our community wants to see further growth in our visitor market and highlights environmental protection as a key factor that underpins this.”

“People have also talked about creating more ‘instagrammable’ locations, improving water security and diversifying the economy to create more local jobs.”

Douglas Chamber of Commerce president, Liz Ross, praised Council for acknowledging tourism as an essential part of the region’s economy.

“The predominant answer being roads makes sense to me,” she said.

“I have noted in Council’s comments that they see [tourism] as important which is as it should be,” she said.

“We as a local community need to appreciate where the money comes from that drives our local economy; we don’t have manufacturing and we don’t have high end medical.

“What we do have is tourism, which is a service sector economy, so treating all our tourists and locals like they are worthy of our time and effort, our attitude to exemplary service, should be front and centre of who we are and what we do.”

The survey is still open and can be completed online or by returning the reply paid post card mail-out.

The full survey results will be presented to the public at a series of community workshops in key locations around the Shire in the coming days.

A Corporate Plan sets the strategic direction and priorities for the organisation to achieve in
the next five financial years.

Public workshops details:

FRIDAY 5 April 2019
Whet Restaurant ---- 8:30am to 10:00am
Cow Bay Hotel – Bistro Room ---- 11:30am to 1:00pm

WEDNESDAY 10 April 2019
Council Offices, Mossman ---- 4:00pm to 6:00pm

FRIDAY 12 April 2019
Port Douglas Community Centre --- 8:00am – 10:00am

Please RSVP for the workshops to corporateplandouglas.qld.govau 



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