DOUGLAS Shire Council will purchase the Daintree Ferry vessel, ensuring an uninterrupted continuation of service across the Daintree River beyond 30 June 2021.
At a Special Council Meeting in Mossman this afternoon, Councillors voted to purchase the cable ferry and associated equipment from Sirron Enterprises (QLD) Pty Ltd for an agreed amount.
The purchase offer remains subject to Sirron and Council entering into an asset sale agreement and the parties will not be bound until such contracts are executed.
Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the purchase would secure the crossing for future years.
“Our community living north of the Daintree River has been incredibly patient during this whole process and we look forward to the contractors signing the contract to give everyone confidence for the upcoming tourist season,” he said.
“Before COVID, we could see 20,000 to 25,000 vehicles per month cross the river during our peak tourist season of July to September. That’s tens of thousands of visitors spending money at tourism experiences, cafes, accommodation providers located north of the Daintree River – the same business owners who were hardest hit when visitor access was restricted due to COVID last year.”
“Once acquired, we can continue to progress plans to upgrade land-based infrastructure at the crossing for a second ferry service, which will form part of a re-tendering process later in the year.”
At this point in time, the sale price remains subject to commercial in-confidence with a transparent release of information planned once contracts are signed.
A Special Council Meeting has been called so Councillors can consider awarding the tender for a ferry services contract.
Council has hired a Project Manager to coordinate upgrades to the land-based infrastructure required for a two-ferry system. A concept design is nearing completion.
Surveyors visited the area last month as part of the feasibility analysis for the northern priority lane.