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9 June, 2021

Preserving the Avenue of Palms

A LONG-term plan to preserve the multi-million-dollar avenue of trees lining the entrance to Port Douglas will be developed as part of a collection of new initiatives designed to foster economic growth and enhance the liveability of Douglas Shire.

Douglas Shire Council this week committed to achieving 47 initiatives across five strategic themes areas in the 2021-22 Operational Plan.

Council also voted to complete a business case for an RV Park in Mossman and progress work on the Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said a long-term succession plan for the Port Douglas oil palms was needed to preserve and protect the avenue of trees.

“We need to review options for the long term replacement and maintenance of these oil palms, which have become an absolute asset to our tourist town over the past decades,” he said.

“Many visitors love Port Douglas for its beautiful beach, amazing bars and restaurants, and relaxed atmosphere, but looking at the iconic avenue of trees is often the first and last experience on their holiday so we need to have a plan in place to protect it.”

“We have done an audit of the 608 trees and while only a small number are suffering, I feel now is the right time for us to be strategic about their future as we continue to enhance our public spaces.”

Other key initiatives include:

  • Implement an external Indigenous Consultative Committee
  • Improvements to Rex Smeal Park
  • Developing an all-abilities access plan
  • Enhanced public spaces
  • Progressing plans on the Mossman Pool redevelopment.

Councillors also voted to continue to investigate opportunities in the RV Strategy, including a business case and cost-benefit analysis to be completed for an RV park in Mossman.

Staff will also progress work on the Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct.

Following approval of a concept and detailed design, Council will hold further community consultation and seek to secure funding for the Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct, prioritising a splash park in phase one.

Mayor Kerr said a considered approach was needed for these exciting projects.

“Council is taking a staged attitude towards these initiatives which requires careful planning and smart investment” he said.

“Importantly, while the Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct design will encompass a longer-term version which includes a pool, the more immediate priority is a splash park.”

The Operational Plan is formulated to identify and determine what actions are to be undertaken for the financial year. It is the annual plan to deliver on the Council’s strategic themes, goals and initiatives as articulated in the 2019-24 Corporate Plan.

The public can monitor Council’s progress via quarterly reports which are tabled at Ordinary Council Meetings and published on Council’s website.

An assessment of operational performance is included in Council’s Annual Report each year.

Mayor Kerr said Council’s second operational plan set a broad range of targets for the organisation to hit next financial year.

“Personally, I am really excited to see how we can improve Rex Smeal Park, which is popular spot for young families, the Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct and progress the redevelopment of the Mossman Pool for our community,” he said.

“We are also focussing on the nuts and bolts of region by further enhancing our public spaces, developing a prioritised gravel re-sheet program for unsealed roads and moving forward with plans to bring a viable water security solution to shovel-ready status.

“I would like to thank my fellow Councillors and staff for pulling together a number of fantastic initiatives in our second operational plan.”

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