AN estimated $15 million damage bill is expected to be tallied after a wet season soaking that saw monsoonal rainfall and a record-breaking flood in Douglas Shire.
The figure is the highest since Cyclone Ita in 2014 and is expected to double Council crews’ workload for at least the next 12 months.
The Daintree River reached its highest flood level in 118 years and more than 2.5 metres has been recorded at Whyanbeel Valley, north of Port Douglas, since the start of the wet season.
Despite this, Douglas Shire Council has re-opened all roads and is now working with Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) to push the shire back onto travellers’ itineraries.
Mayor Julia Leu said Council targeted high-priority areas for full repairs, such as the Alexandra Range, before finishing work on some of the roads less travelled.
“This recovery work will double our workload and put pressure on our civil crews,” she said.
“It is important for everyone to be patient and understand that it may be some time before smaller repairs are completed.
“We have been all hands on deck for some time now to minimize inconvenience and our crews are striving to restore our region for the busy season.”
Mayor Leu and Council officers will check in with our flood-affected residents in Degarra and Daintree Village for a monsoon de-brief next week.
The Alexandra Range remains open to one lane as contractors drill a further 70 specialised soil nails into the landslip slope to help stabilize the damaged area.
Mayor Leu said it was one of many repair projects that had been fast-tracked to allow a flow of people into the region.
“Although tourism has had a sluggish start to the year, the good news is more people will be coming to Douglas Shire and spending money at our local businesses in coming weeks,” she said.
“Fresh from the rain, now is when the rainforest is really thriving, the reef is absolutely spectacular and you really get to enjoy this little piece of paradise.”
TPDD has launched a powerful partnership with Expedia this month to drive visitation from Victoria and New South Wales.
TPDD Executive Officer Tara Bennett said promotional activities would be ramped up to strengthen bookings in the lead up to Easter.
She called on the community to help promote Douglas Shire.
“The biggest challenge has been to overcome the perception that the region is closed to visitors,” she said.
“TPDD has reached out to media agencies and the travel industry to show them just how beautiful the destination is right now.
“We can all be involved in recovery efforts by harnessing the power of social media and sharing inspiring images from around Douglas Shire.
“Our Show Me Your Paradise content campaign will be engaging potential holiday makers through our digital channels, while a dedicated media famil visited the region to generate positive print content.”
TPDD is also rolling out promotional activity to overcome lost business by working with Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Tourism and Events Queensland.
Key works list:
- China Camp Road, creek crossing repairs complete – motorists take care.
- Bloomfield Track – landslip works completed – single-lane until further notice. Please obey traffic signs.
- Bloomfield Track – repairs at various sites completed – emergency works started, single lane at some locations, motorists take care, works crews onsite.
- Syndicate Road – landslip works complete – two lanes open.
- Cape Kimberley Road – repairs complete – motorists take care.
- Alexandra Range (Cape Tribulation Rd) – Major landslip – emergency works started, single lane with traffic lights expected until Easter.
- Cape Tribulation Rd – Many minor landslip sites – emergency works ongoing, further works required in coming weeks, motorists take care.
- Douglas Creek Road – work ongoing – Lee’s bridge 5T load limit. Motorists take care
- 10 Mile Creek Road – creek crossing repairs ongoing – motorists take care
- Ponzo Road – landslip – investigation works to commence shortly, single-lane with traffic lights until further notice.
- Upper Daintree Road – repairs at various sites ongoing – emergency works complete, motorist take care
- Forest Creek Road – road repairs ongoing – emergency works underway, works crews onsite, motorists take care
- Stewarts Creek Road – landslip works ongoing – two lanes open, motorists take care
- CREB track – Road closed – Access not expected until May.
Monday, March 11
Tuesday, March 12
11am – 12pm