THE projected costs of a two-ferry solution at the Daintree River will be revealed at public consultation sessions before negotiations for the next contract continue.

Douglas Shire Council resolved to temporarily suspend the Daintree River Ferry contract negotiations and explore the option of a bridge crossing at various locations along the river, as well as identify the possible economic benefits to the region.

The public consultation will seek feedback on a bridge option alongside details of costs of the proposed two-ferry solution.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said Council wanted to be more transparent with the community on the potential financial impact to ratepayers and ferry users.

“In order to be transparent, the community needs to have an informed say on all options,” he said.

“Given the potential operational cost of the two-ferry solution and impact on residents, businesses and/or tourists, it is important that the community has more detail on how these extra costs would be funded before a contract is signed.

“While it is possible that the two-ferry solution remains the most effective overall means for crossing the Daintree River, it is reasonable to pause current negotiations so all options, including a bridge, can be properly assessed.”

In December last year, Council resolved to allow the Chief Executive Officer to finalise contractual negotiations with local company, Sirron Enterprises Pty Ltd.

A GHD traffic report, which analysed congestion and assessed future conditions, found a bridge was the most effective at dealing with queues at peak periods, followed by the larger ferry and two-ferry solution.

A detailed costs analysis between the two options was not completed at the time.

“The bridge option was not considered because there was a view it would not provide the best tourist experience, and environmental concerns were also noted,” Mayor Kerr said.

“While specific costs of running two ferries could not be known before the tender process, it was noted that it would be significantly more expensive than the current operation.

“Council wants to further analyse this detail and arm the community with more extensive information before locking ratepayers into a lengthy contract.”

Council officers are currently looking at possible dates and will investigate ways to facilitate consultation in the event that COVID-19 restrictions are active.

For more information about the Daintree Ferry Contract Renewal project, visit: https://douglas.qld.gov.au/daintree-ferry-contract-renewal-2021/