Shire's housing shortage key matter at Tuesday's Council meeting

Open Council Meeting

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The acute housing shortage in the Douglas Shire will be a key item at Tuesday’s Open Session in Council Chambers (10am) when Councillor Abigail Noli submits a notice of motion concerning this issue.

And as a matter of urgency, there’s the call for Council to facilitate a working group to investigate and when possible, implement short term measures to address the housing shortage in Douglas.

The motion will highlight that the housing shortage in Douglas has reached a critical stage. The lack of housing is not contained to low socio-economic status, but across a broader range of economic levels.

It adds, as a leader and having available resources, Council has the ability to bring together all stakeholders in an effort to address, if at all possible, the shortage in the shire at the moment. Information drawn solely from Mossman Support Services, housing concerns have escalated exponentially in the Douglas Shire in the past year due to an increased number of new residents arriving from outside of the Shire and buying properties, either as investment properties or as personal residences.

Previously the primary concern regarding access to safe housing was the affordability concerns, new trends show that availability as well as affordability are affecting the housing options for Shire residents.

Some of the statistics pulled from the Mossman Community Centre (MCC) between July 1 2021 and October 14, 2021 include:

  • 48 people have sought housing support from MCC since July 1 2021 23/48 have tenancy ending for one of the above listed reasons
  • 15/48 are facing pre-existing homelessness (including couch surfing and living in overcrowded settings)
  • 10/48 are seeking housing due to inappropriateness of current location
  • These numbers are purely clients seeking only housing support, and do not reflect the residents seeking other supports from MSS in which housing is a symptom of their needs (i.e. DV, Medical needs, age related needs).

Updated items from (Acting) CEO Report:

Wave park

An update is provided on the proposed $317m wave park, which will produce man-made waves, to be known as NorthBreak and located in the Mowbray Valley (5640 Captain Cook Highway, Mowbray) and in close proximity to the Wangetti Trail, and is part of a proposal that involves the establishment of a tourist resort.

A development application has been lodged for a Resort Complex comprising a Wave Park and a range of ancillary and associated uses which are intended to be complimentary and subordinate to the primary use. Such uses are identified as comprising:

  • A Wave Park;
  • Ancillary outdoor water-based recreational activities (Lagoon and Waterpark);
  • A Hotel complex of around 160 rooms to be used for short term accommodation;
  • A Village precinct containing shops, restaurants and a function facility;
  • A residential precinct to provide for short term accommodation around a lagoon;
  • A Tourist Park containing 35 self-contained cabins;
  • A helipad; and
  • A caretaker's residence

The application also includes a subdivision component whereby the parent parcel will be reconfigured into four large allotments which will reflect the Precinct Plan.

The Applicant has undertaken referral to the State Assessment & Referral Agency (SARA) due to development proposal containing multiple triggers for assessment by various State Government Agencies.

Both SARA and Council have issued a request for further information which the Applicant is currently addressing. It is anticipated that the response to the information request will be received in the next few weeks. Once the response is received public notification of the development will commence.

Craiglie Residential Estate:

Craiglie Construction activity is nearing completion for the 1st Stage of the residential development at Craiglie comprising 32 residential lots and a small park lot. A Works Acceptance inspection meeting took place on 15 September 2021, however the works were not of a sufficient standard to achieve Works Acceptance. Rectification works are required to be undertaken to a number of asset classes.

These include underground storm water, park improvements and access to the drain for future maintenance. The Applicant / Project Team is currently attending to these matters. The development involved the construction of trunk infrastructure as identified in Council’s Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP).

Council committed $1 million towards the delivery of the trunk infrastructure to be delivered as part of the first stage of the development. As the outstanding matters for the development do not involve the trunk infrastructure items that have been constructed, payment of the $1 million is in the process of being transferred to the Applicant.

Assessment of Stage 2 of the development comprising 32 lots is continuing. Council has issued a request for further information which is yet to be responded to by the Applicant. The Applicant has requested an extension of time to 29 October 2021 to respond to the information request. It is likely a further request will be made by the Applicant to extend this period.

Covid-19

TheDouglas Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG), is still activated for COVID-19 at the Lean Forward level. One LDMG meeting was held this quarter and several updates were circulated to the LDMG.
Douglas LDMG has been providing support to the Mossman Hospital in terms of scouting for secondary COVID-19 vaccination hubs and promoting the Cairns COVID-19 vaccination hub at the Cairns Convention Centre.

Council’s Pandemic Working Group has been having monthly meetings regarding COVID-19 and the recent vaccine roll-out campaign. Current information is being distributed to all staff, which during this quarter pertained to mandatory mask wearing, the rolling out of mandatory Queensland Check-in App and the Brisbane lockdown.

The Workplace Pandemic Plan is a living document and is continuously updated with the latest information. From July to September Toolbox talks were facilitated by Council’s EHO and Disaster Management Officer with various internal departments including Frontline, Water & Wastewater, Library staff, Finance and Integrated Services, Open Spaces and Nursery. Council’s manager Environment and Planning has continued to update staff on COVID-19 related matters via the internal bulletin.

The approval of personal expenses for the former Chief Executive Officer, Mark Stoermer, will be discussed in the closed session.

AGENDA

5.1-Material-Change-of-Use-for-Air-Services-Helicopter-Pad-and-Pilots-Accommodation-Mowbray
5.2-Material-Change-of-Use-for-Shops-at-24-Macrossan-Street-Port-Douglas
5.3-Application-for-Permanent-Road-Closure-Adjoining-Lot-129-on-SR454-Toll-Gate-Road-Oak-Beach
5.4-Safe-Places-Accommodation-Lot-57-RP800869-Bow-Street-Mossman-Registration-of-Covenant
5.5-Contract-WO5583-Warners-Bridge-Construction-Project
5.6-Water-and-Wastewater-Quarterly-Report-for-the-period-ending-30-September-2021
5.7-A-Year-in-Disaster-January-2020-June-2021
5.8-Corporate-Credit-Card-Policy
5.9-Principal-Place-of-Residence-Policy
5.10-Financial-Report-September-20215.8-Corporate-Credit-Card-Policy
5.11-Christmas-Period-Annual-Shutdown
5.12-2022-Council-Meeting-Dates
5.13-Operational-Plan-Progress-Report-for-July-to-September-2021
5.14-Report-from-the-Chief-Executive-Officer-for-period-July-to-September-2021
6.1-Notice-of-Motion-Housing-Shortage-in-Douglas

CLOSED SESSION

  • 9.1 Confidential 254J 3 G Local Government Regulation 2012 – Ozcare Trustee Lease Rent Review-Lot 11 SP204465
  • 9.2 Confidential 254J 3 G Local Government Regulation 2012 – Road Encroachment-Lot 1 RP748285
  • 9.3 Confidential 254J 3 E Local Government Regulation 2012 – Approval of Personal Expenses – Former Chief Executive Officer

 

 


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