DOUGLAS Shire Council has announced plans to invest in a local carbon offset project as part of its Healthy Reef initiative.

Councillors yesterday resolved to buy land in Douglas Shire for its first carbon project for activities such as tree planting, habitat regeneration and wetland restoration.

Residents and community groups will have an opportunity to get involved in the project in coming months.

Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu has also announced she will put forward a motion at the September 10 Ordinary Council Meeting, proposing that Council stops negotiating the proposed partnership with Qantas.

Mayor Leu said the Qantas deal did not appear to be going anywhere.

“Unfortunately, the partnership does not appear to be moving forward and we have been unable to complete the deal,” Mayor Leu said.

“Despite this, Council has snapped into action on a plan to invest in a local project that will offset our carbon footprint as we continue to work on reducing our emissions.

“Investing in local regeneration projects will give the most long-term value for ratepayers and we know the broader community wants Council to work on projects that protect the environment and develop the economy.

“We would like to thank Qantas for their time over the past few months and look forward to potentially working with them down the track.”

Council is now investigating options for land to host the carbon-offset project.

After the initial pilot workshop held in May, Council will broaden its community consultation through public workshops and on-site visits to encourage involvement and ownership over the project.

Residents and community groups will be asked to register their interest at Council’s website in the near future to receive information about the project and consultation opportunities.

“Council’s goal is to see the Douglas Shire become Ecotourism Australia’s first certified eco destination and the first carbon neutral region,” Mayor Leu said.

“By aiming for carbon neutrality and encouraging our tourism industry to do the same, we will further position Douglas Shire as an ecotourism powerhouse.”

Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) and Council are also making progress on the 2019-20 Operational Plan initiative to achieve Eco Destination Certification.

Please watch Council’s website for more details.