LETTER | Council must proactively support Daintree Power
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Douglas Mayor Julia Leu has raised concerns about the potential over-development of the areas north of the Daintree River.
How is this at all possible with the current planning laws?
Is Mayor Leu implying the Council CEO, Mark Stormer, and his planning department is unable to uphold the Council bylaws?
Mayor Leu should be saying her planning department could uphold the highly regarding planning scheme currently in place, not systemically pulling down the planning department with fear mongering.
The role of the local government is to contribute to safe, livable, and connected communities.
This is often one of the objectives required when seeking funding and is one of the current requirements of 2019-2021 Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program.
Why is Douglas Shire Council (DSC) not outwardly promoting and encouraging a reticulated microgrid power system north of the Daintree River as proposed in a recent initiative by the Federal Government?
On 18 November 2014 during an Ordinary Meeting of Douglas Shire Council, the minutes of the meeting documented that:
The Council acknowledges that in representing the interests of its residents in the area, it has a responsibility to advocate on their behalf.
Further, the Council considers the provision of electricity to householders and businesses in communities north of the river to be an essential service and in that respect; there is a legitimate entitlement.
The Queensland State budget 2018-2019 allocated funds ‘to develop a solution to deliver sustainable energy for the Daintree, to provide residents with a quality clean power supply to enhance their standard of living, reduce local pollution and support local businesses and jobs’.
Why didn’t Mayor Leu welcome this State Government funding to work with ARENA?
DSC recently conducted a Corporate Plan Community Workshop held at Whet restaurant in Cape Tribulation and locals were encouraged to attend this Council meeting.
During the Workshop, three Councillors - Noli, Zammataro and Kerr - each voiced their support for a reticulated micro power grid to be introduced to the community north of the Daintree River.
These resolutions given at this Council initiated meeting were at no time highlighted as personal opinions.
Councillors are required to identify when opinion is personal when making a statement in a public council meeting or speaking with the media.
They need to express this before they give their opinions.
As the Councillors did not declare their statements as personal, this majority view should now officially represent the view of the Council.
At this meeting, Mayor Leu also announced Council supported power to the northern community, however she suggested other plans needed to be explored, such as subsidies.
Mayor Leu has had eight months to approach the State Government to initiate this 2018-2019 Government initiative with ARENA.
There have been many, many surveys over the years resulting in documented support by the majority of the community for reticulated microgrid power.
Why is the Mayor holding back official proactive support, when a majority of her Councillors support it?
Why is Mayor Leu so keen to only support the Mossman Mill and Wangetti Trail?
Why is it of no interest to Mayor Leu to have a true eco-tourism experience in the Daintree, free of generator pollution from diesel and petrol?
The greatest disservice being afforded to the community north of the Daintree River is one of safety through lack of reliable power.
The Telstra relay tower on the Alexandra Range has problems with the generator system being unable to continually provide power.
When this occurs, the community is unable to make calls, sometimes for days and in some cases weeks.
This tower needs to be upgraded to new technology to improve mobile coverage; this can only be done with continuous reliable power.
If the system could be upgraded in its current state using a generator for power, it surely would have been done by now.
This is not an adequate duty of care being afforded to the children at Alexandra Bay Primary School should emergency assistance be required.
The school cannot call parents and the parents cannot call the school.
Education facilities are a State responsibility. Any community would expect their Local Government to be highlighting this issue on their behalf and be demanding a safer environment from State and Federal Government.
Concerned Douglas Shire Resident, North of the Daintree River
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