'May never see splash park' says Mayor after council votes 3-2 for Noli motion

Splash park and water precinct

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Mayor Kerr has posted this image this morning as the type of concept he had a vision for to be located at Reynolds Park. Image: Facebook
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Douglas Shire residents will get the opportunity to decide the location of the Port Douglas Splash Park and Water Precinct in a move that could further delay a project that has been around for considerable time.

At Council’s Open Session today, Councillor Abigail Noli’s Notice of Motion for transparency was adopted 3-2 with Councillors Noli, Lisa Scomazzon and Roy Zammataro voting in favour and Mayor Michael Kerr and Councillor Peter McKeown against.

In her motion, Cr Noli requested the following:

That Council:

  1. Consults with the community for the location of the Port Douglas Splash Park and Water Precinct.
  2. The final location of the precinct is decided by council resolution.
  3. A business case and cost benefit analysis are conducted on the proposed 50m lap pool and an alternative lagoon style pool.
  4. The business case and cost benefit analysis, for both options, are brought to a council meeting to be publicly discussed and noted.

And Council confirmed that the tender had not been awarded and resolved to:

  • Consult with the community for the location of the Port Douglas Splash Park and Water Precinct.
  • The final location of the precinct is decided by council resolution.
  • A business case and cost benefit analysis are conducted on the proposed 50m lap pool and an alternative lagoon style pool.
  • The business case and cost benefit analysis, for both options, are brought to a council meeting to be publicly discussed and noted.

 

Frustration

Dominated by heated exchanges, Mayor Kerr expressed his frustration when he said this issue has been discussed over the past 20 years, without a result.

The question of where it will be located was a bone of contention and both Clr's Noli and Zammataro challenged Mayor Kerr that Reynolds Park had been chosen as the preferred location. It was claimed that the location had been agreed to at one of many workshops.

Clr Zammataro at yesterdays meeting said “I was not aware that the location had been decided. Pools cost a lot of money for rate payers and a lagoon will be more attractive to visitors."

Clr Scomazzon asked what this Council can afford. “We need a business and cost analysis, we need rough estimates on on-going costs. It also does not make sense to have two pools, as we already have one in Mossman,” she said.

The Mayor subsequently has turned to his social media first thing this morning to again vent his frustration posting images of the "type of concept he had a vision for to be put into Reynolds Park along with a pool for Port Douglas locals and tourists."

He went on to say "unfortunately due to Clr Noli's motion yesterday, (and) passed by Clr Scomozzan and Clr Zammataro you may may never see it. 

"With out concept designs, which were previously approved, budgeted for and a tender process completed it’s impossible to get a vision out for public consultation."

"Different story last time when the unaffordable Lagoon was announced to the community with no consultation on location or design and no cost analysis completed."

The Mayor then warned "I believe this is nothing more than intentional political games by these three and if the community wants things to start happening in this shire they need to start telling their councillors.

 
Public opportunity

In her motion, Clr Noli says the question was put by a Councillor as to when the public will have an opportunity to decide upon the location of such an important, costly and resource intensive infrastructure asset.

“The answer was taken on notice and subsequently was never answered. It should be noted that in former councils, the community has always been given the opportunity to address their opinion as to the location of such an important decision.

“A few weeks ago, Council released a media statement saying that ‘the location has been decided’. This declaration has had no input nor consultation from either the community or Councillors.”

She added: “This decision is too important to get wrong as this will forever be an ongoing cost, probably an operational loss and in the wrong location an eyesore and detriment to the amenity of Port Douglas.” 


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