The Port Douglas Master Plan provides strategic direction for the gradual transformation of the Port Douglas Waterfront.

Shaping the future of Port Douglas

The Port Douglas Master Plan, adopted by Cairns Regional Council in November 2009, was developed involving high levels of community engagement.

The Master Plan provides strategic direction for the gradual transformation of the Port Douglas waterfront by integrating its existing features with a range of new initiatives, cementing the western shoreline of the peninsula as one of the world’s greatest waterfronts.

Included in the Plan’s guiding principles is the requirement for the outcomes to reflect the tropical, relaxed, unhurried character that is Port Douglas.

Master Plan History

The former Douglas Shire Council, at its meeting in December 2005, approved a proposal to pursue an integrated planning process that would deliver a master plan for the Port Douglas Waterfront.

During 2006, the Council investigated the lease environment on the Waterfront and invited the State Government to contribute to the evolving Master Plan.

For a variety of reasons, the State’s Due Diligence Report was not made available to Council until the end of January 2007- a hard copy of this report can be obtained by contacting Council.

With the State’s views to hand, Council embarked on an intensive community engagement exercise to better understand the community’s views and aspirations for the Waterfront. This resulted in a comprehensive report to Council’s 7 August 2007 meeting.

The Port Douglas Waterfront Master Plan was then adopted by Cairns Regional Council on 25 November 2009.

Master Plan Implementation

The Port Douglas Waterfront Master Plan provides a strategic direction for the incremental transformation of the Port Douglas Waterfront to meet the needs of the community, business, visitors, environment and allow for balanced future development.

From August 2010 to October 2010, the Advisory Committee worked with Council to review the PDMP which culminated in the following recommended changes:

  • The Swimming Lagoon should be completed in the short-term or as soon as possible (not in medium-long term as originally indicated in the Port Douglas Master Plan November 2009);
  • The Swimming Lagoon and Waterfront Park “Precinct” requires significant funding to proceed. This issue therefore needs to be brought to the attention of State and Commonwealth elected representatives so that funding can be procured at the earliest possible opportunity.


In keeping with the high level of community participation and input into the development of the PDMP, Council committed to ensuring the continuation of community participation in the further development, feasibility and implementation of PDMP projects.

In light of this, one of the first PDMP projects that Council delivered in 2011 was the Four Mile Beach Esplanade Upgrade which involved a high level of community input into the design.

In October 2010, having defined the major PDMP projects for implementation over the next 10 years, Council (in consultation with the Advisory Committee) commenced progression of project feasibility studies (Lagoon, Boat Ramp relocation) and development of concept designs (Lagoon, Waterfront Park, Road Network upgrades, Car Parking, Boat Ramp).

Between March 2011 and June 2011, Council conducted a comprehensive community engagement process on the project feasibility studies and concept designs.

Specific stakeholders, various Government agencies and the general community provided their feedback. A review was also undertaken of feedback provided on local social media outlets.

The results and outcomes of this community engagement process clearly defined that there is majority support within the Port Douglas community and stakeholders for the PDMP projects.

At the 17 August 2011 Infrastructure Services Committee Meeting, Council unanimously endorsed the results and outcomes of the community engagement process and the following PDMP projects:

  • Revised Port Douglas Master Plan projects dated November 2011;
  • Lagoon Pool for Port Douglas at Location 4 (located in the future parkland area between Sugar Wharf and the Combined Club) as per Concept Design dated August 2011;
  • Waterfront Park Concept Design dated August 2011;
  • Road Network Upgrades Concept Design dated August 2011;
  • Car Parking Concept Design dated August 2011;
  • Relocation of current public boat ramp from Ashford Ave to Spinnaker Ave as per the Concept Design dated August 2011; and
  • Landscape Design Guide dated August 2011.


To support the future development of the Waterfront Park and Lagoon, Council has been working on various land tenure matters and liaising with leaseholders and tenants of Council-controlled waterfront buildings (trustee permits of privately-leased waterfront buildings expired and were returned to Council control in March 2012) to commence the transformation of the waterfront and return the area as public open space.

Enquiries about the PDMP and its implementation can be made via email at