THE PUBLIC will play a pivotal role in the future of the Daintree Ferry when widespread community engagement begins next month.
Douglas Shire Council endorsed a robust community engagement plan for the Daintree River Ferry contract renewal at an Ordinary Council Meeting in Mossman today.
Mayor Julia Leu said all relevant stakeholders would have a chance to submit suggestions to enhance the ferry service.
“This will be a scrupulous process that will leave no stone unturned,” she said.
“Council hopes to finish this exercise with a clear vision and understanding about what the wider community wants moving forward.
“All feedback will be considered and all suggestions, where practical and feasible, will be incorporated into the tender specifications.”
Tenders will be invited no later than July next year to allow sufficient time for potential service providers to submit tenders and ensure they are ready to start after the current ferry contract expires on June 30, 2021.
The contract will be awarded no later than December 31, 2019.
Mayor Leu said a detailed analysis of community feedback and submissions would be presented Council later this year.
“This whole process will be incredibly transparent” she said.
“Council will also investigate the possibility of getting a professional researcher to survey tourists about the ferry service.”
It comes after Council received a $20,000 grant for “Strategic Planning for Daintree Village and Daintree Coast Communities”.
This project will produce a comprehensive audit of 35 plans and strategies by engaging with key stakeholders, agencies, members of the Daintree Joint Management Group and Traditional Owners.
Trial to counter Ferry queues
AN EXTRA deck hand will be employed at the Daintree River Ferry to help speed up travel across the majestic river during peak tourist season.
Douglas Shire Council approved a trial for an extra person to help receipting at the northern bank of the Daintree River from 1pm to 6pm daily until October 31 this year.
Mayor Julia Leu said the trial was important to try to improve visitor experience to the Daintree National Park during the busy period.
“The queues are proof that Douglas Shire has a fantastic tourism product,” she said.
“Council is keen to reduce waiting times with practical measures and believe this could potentially deliver efficiencies while relieving traffic pressure.
“If successful this could lead to a permanent arrangement to be included in future budgets.”
The 13-week trial will start on August 1.