What’s next for the Daintree Crossing? Councillors to vote
The results of the Council’s Daintree River Crossing survey are in but what happens next?
Almost 4000 people completed the survey conducted by Compass Research with 66 per cent of those who voted saying they would prefer a two-ferry service, compared to 33 per cent who voted in preference of a bridge.
Now the final decision will be made when councillors vote on the matter at the next Ordinary Council Meeting on 15 December when the report is tabled.
Following the release of the survey results, Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said he would vote with the community at the Council Meeting.
“I am now confident we can move forward with the two-ferry contract negotiation, continue applications for relevant approvals for a second ferry crossing and work at improving the ferry experience for travellers and locals,” he said.
“For the first time, Councillors can make a fully informed decision, armed with real results gained through a thorough consultation, which paints an accurate picture of community sentiment towards this issue.
“The community is also fully aware of the costs Council will incur in establishing a second ferry crossing and have made an educated choice about the future of the crossing.”
The infrastructure for the second ferry is expected to cost Council $2.8 million and is anticipated to take more than a year, to obtain approvals, build a new ferry and construct associated land-based infrastructure.
A package of reports has been provided to Councillors, which includes the report from Compass Research; a report on the focus group findings; and a report containing all submissions.
Regarding the Council meeting vote in a fortnight's time, Deputy Mayor Lisa Scomozzon said: “I have been elected as a representative of the ratepayers and residents of the shire, and as such, I will be making a decision in the best interest of the Shire once I have had the opportunity to digest all the information available.”
Likewise, Councillor Peter McKeown said he is currently making his way through all the report findings and submissions before the next Council meeting.
Councillors Roy Zammataro and Abigail Noli were unavailable to comment by the deadline.
Conservation group welcomes survey results
Local conservation group, Douglas Shire Sustainability Group have welcomed the results of the survey.
DSSG campaigned in support of the two-ferry option, launching a petition called ‘Save the Daintree (Again)’ which was against the building of a bridge and gained over 30,000 signatures.
“Our position has been supported by Douglas Shire residents, including those who live across the Daintree River,” Mr McDonald President of DSSG said.
“We all recognise the Daintree Coast is the jewel in the crown of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.”
DSSG is now calling on Council and the state and federal governments to invest further in the conservation and presentation of the Daintree Coast.
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