CAIRNS HAS A LOT TO LEARN FROM DOUGLAS SHIRE COUNCIL
The planned amalgamation of Cairns and Port Douglas councils should be seen as an opportunity for Cairns to learn from its northern neighbour rather than as a takeover, Cairns Mayoral aspirant, Val Schier believes.
“Port Douglas residents are fearful of the proposed merger, and understandably so,” Ms Schier said. “They fear a loss of identity and are afraid that Cairns councillors will dominate the new council’s decision-making and allow open slather on developments,” she said.
“The recent troubles within their council should not hide the admirable work that has been achieved in the Douglas Shire over the past two decades. They have an enviable record of having created a vibrant economy whilst being acknowledged nation-wide for their environmental credentials.” Ms Schier said.
“They know how important it is to have two world heritage areas on their doorstep, have limited high-rise development, protected their agricultural lands, and importantly, have kept their rates much lower than Cairns. We have much to learn from them.”
The 300 hundred people who attended an informal meeting outside the council chambers at Mossman on Saturday morning unanimously rejected the proposed amalgamation and explored numerous ways of getting their voices heard.
“Whilst Peter Beattie has said that he is adopting the shire boundary recommendations ‘lock, stock and barrel,’ it is important for democracy and for the spirit of the community that they make every effort possible to get the state government to change its mind,” Ms Schier said.
If the residents’ protests are not acknowledged and the merger goes ahead, then it will be a challenge for Port Douglas – with only 6,200 voters - to have representation in a new “undivided” council where the commission has recommended the abolition of divisional representation. The more than 72 000 Cairns voters would swamp the Douglas shire voters.
As a Mayoral candidate, Ms Schier says she will work collaboratively with Douglas Shire residents whether the amalgamation proceeds or whether the residents win their challenge.
Ends… 29 July 2007
For more information please call Val Schier on
Val Schier Candidate for Mayor 2008
Would you like to join the Supporters Mailing List for the Cairns First Campaign? Click here to subscribe to the list.