State, Feds support Port Douglas splash park

Community pool

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The Cairns Esplanade splash park is located right at the edge of the ocean. Image: Cairns Regional Council
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Douglas Shire Council has both state and federal support to deliver a splash park in Port Douglas.

And Mayor Michael Kerr said the state government had already committed $1.5 million which would go towards the design concept and splash park. He said more funding would be needed at a later date.

Cynthia Lui, the Member for Cook, said an election commitment was made in 2020 to deliver a Splash Park.

“The Department is currently engaging with the Douglas Shire Council regarding this election commitment. I will support the decision of the Douglas Shire Council to deliver this project,” she said.
The Federal MP for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, who was at a sod turning in November 2010 for a lagoon pool near the Sugar Wharf, said he is still 100% supportive and what should have happened already, is now well overdue.

“No one has put in a submission and I encourage Douglas Shire Council to drive this. They’ll need support from state government and I would be more than happy to assist from the Federal side.

“This is a no-brainer and Council can’t afford not to do it,” said Entsch.

Meanwhile, tomorrow (June 16) is the deadline for tenders for the preparation of a concept plan for an aquatic facility in Port Douglas.

Reynolds Park

According to a Council statement: “The tender includes developing detailed designs for a splash park and closes on November 16.

“Reynolds Park in Port Douglas is identified as the preferred location and the successful consultant will be required to create an animated fly through for the entire aquatic facility. This will be used to go out to the community for feedback on the concept.

“The aquatic facility will be a staged development. Once Council has approved the overall concept, the consultant will prepare detailed designs for the splash park component which will be Stage 1. The aim is for the splash park to be shovel ready in time to seek funding in 2022.”

Although there is significant support for a Yeppoon-style lagoon pool, it’s been clearly stated it would not be financially viable for a town of 3,000.

“It would not be financially sustainable for this shire to have a free lagoon.

“Unless the state government allows councils to introduce a bed tax or something similar, we simply do not have the revenue ability for a lagoon.

“This council is currently looking at a free entry water splash park with a paid access safe water swimming area as part of this year’s operational plan,” said Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr.

Shade wanted

In a November 2020 Council survey, (Public Pool and Splash Park: Survey Results) “plenty of shade” was highlighted and Reynolds Park has already been considered a questionable choice.

Said one reader: “Of course the council has identified Reynolds Park as the ideal location. Why would it follow nearly every other council and put a splash park next to the beach or water so that in summer, when the parks are mostly used, there is some breeze to cool the parents as they watch their kids.

“Anyone who has spent time at Reynolds Park will know how hot it gets in summer.”

Another said: “Why would you put it out of town in a hot shade-less paddock!!!! The best place would be in the unused park next to the boat ramp near Dickson Inlet.

“It has shade, tourists would be able to find it, close to The Tin Shed for lunch afterwards and it has a whole lot better view. There is also enough space to incorporate a water park one day!!”


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