29 October, 2021
Gazza’s Goss: Port means business
LIKE so many who settle in the Douglas Shire, the eventual move to paradise is often as a result of a previous visit.
My wife and I came here for a day trip to the reef and instantly we wanted to come back for a longer stay.
I had no idea what to expect when travelling up the windy road, on a shuttle, from Cairns to Port.
To be honest, I was imagining a small town like Cloncurry, with a couple of pubs, supermarket, hardware store and a friendly welcome. Clearly, I hadn’t done my homework as I started to realise this wasn’t the case.
My eyes lit up the instant we turned right off the Cook Highway and proceeded to pass the resorts, golf club and amazing line of palm trees.
My next moment of sheer amazement was getting to the Coconut Grove Junction, with its fine selection of restaurants and clothes shops. I could already detect my better half fumbling around for her credit card.
Like the rest of the world, in the last eighteen months, the Douglas Shire has seen some turbulent times. Periods of extreme business and other times when car parks have been empty.
Presently it seems to be somewhere in between, as we await decisions and inspiration from our leaders and the experts.
For a period, Coconut Grove, that very place that gave me those long lasting first impressions, has had a tough time. The loss of the long established 2 Fish Restaurant, plus the disappearance of other popular shops, had been a blow.
It now appears, however, that positivity is starting to return, as we see vacant premises becoming active business locations again.
Just this week, further up Macrossan Street in Port, three new shops have been approved at the former Mango Jam Restaurant site. The premises had been irregularly occupied since the restaurant closed several years ago.
The application includes proposals to redevelop the land with new shops, retaining the car parking in the rear yard, side driveway and vehicle crossover onto Macrossan Street.
All up, together with border restrictions hopefully soon to lift, it should be a step towards some normality, even if it is the ‘new norm!’
For now, this is an optimistic Gazza signing out!
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