More than 130 people attended the various community engagement sessions held with landscape designer Phillip Johnson and Douglas Shire Council staff in December 2019.

Council has published a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and responses below.

Something missing?

There is an opportunity to provide feedback and ask further questions at the bottom of the page.

Council will continue to update this list and publish comments from the graffiti wall that was at the public consultation sessions.

Will the lagoon be able to withstand the impacts of climate change?

The Queensland Government requires Council to adopt for planning purposes a 0.8 metre sea level rise by the year 2100. This means the risk from coastal hazards, such as storm tide inundation and erosion is predicted to increase over time. Council’s latest erosion risk mapping shows that by the year 2060:
A small section of the proposed swimming area will be located in the open coast 1% AEP erosion risk zone. This means each year there is a 1 in 100 chance of being impacted by erosion processes, i.e. the likelihood of erosion impacting this location is ‘possible’.
The majority of the proposed main swimming area will be located in the open coast 0.2% AEP erosion risk zone. This means each year there is a 1 in 500 chance of being impacted from erosion processes, i.e. the likelihood of erosion impacting this location is ‘rare’.
The proposed children’s play area will continue to be located outside of the erosion risk zone.
Council’s latest storm tide inundation mapping shows that by the year 2060, the risk from storm tide inundation on the proposed lagoon remains low. However, the nearby creek located south of the proposed new surf building may be impacted during storm tide inundation events.
Council’s latest erosion and storm tide inundation maps are available on the www.environment.douglas.qld.gov.au website.

Will the new surf building be in a storm tide inundation area?

The latest storm tide inundation mapping shows that the proposed new surf building is not located within the storm tide inundation risk zone. However, the nearby creek located south of the proposed new surf building may be impacted during storm tide inundation events.
The latest storm tide inundation maps for Douglas Shire are available on the www.environment.douglas.qld.gov.au website.

Will the new surf building be in an erosion zone?

The proposed new surf building is located within the open coast 1% AEP erosion risk zone. This means each year there is a 1 in 100 chance of being impacted by erosion processes, i.e. the likelihood of erosion impacting this location is ‘possible’.
The current surf building is located within the open coast 0.2% AEP erosion risk zone. This means each year there is a 1 in 500 chance of being impacted from erosion processes, i.e. the likelihood of erosion impacting this location is ‘rare’.
Therefore, the proposed new surf building is at greater risk of being impacted by erosion processes, compared to the current surf building.
The latest erosion maps for Douglas Shire are available on the www.environment.douglas.qld.gov.au website.

Blue green algae grows in sunlight and heat. It causes skin conditions, nausea and headaches. How will this be prevented?

A. Blue green algae will be prevented by keeping the nutrient level, especially Phosphorous, really low and designing and maintaining the pools to ensure there’s no dirt or mud areas on the bottom where blue algae can grow. Normally there is no Blue algae in natural swimming pool waters due to lack of nutrients and no dirt or mud. There will be a set standard for the level of nutrients levels which will be adhered to. Current guidelines state the level of Phosphorous must be less than 10 micrograms per litre of water.

People will use sunscreen and insecticide. How will the chemicals in these products be removed from the water?

The use of sunscreen is really normal and hasn’t created any problems in other pools. The design of filtration areas will take in to account the expected number of people using the pool and deal with sunscreen washing off.

With regards to insecticides, like any organic system the focus will be to reduce the need to use harmful chemicals. The harm for micro bacteria depends on the concentration of toxic elements which enter the water. Products like Bushman’s are used directly on peoples’ skin, so if some is washed off in the pool, it will be in very small doses. There will however, be a risk assessment regarding possible products, upcoming concentration of toxic contents in pool waters, and the resulting harm potential to micro bacteria and the balance of the pools.

Where will we source the water?

“Where does the water come from? Is it the roof of the surf club?”

This was a common question, very understandable given the current Level 3 water restrictions. The proposed lagoon is estimated to be about the size of 2½ Olympic swimming pools.

This is around 7½ mega litres of water (7.5 million litres). Once filled and operational, water lost via evaporation and people getting in and out of the pool, the weekly water needed to top up levels would be in the vicinity of 45,000 litres.

To provide some perspective, water consumption in Port Douglas is about 12.5 mega litres per day.

The plan is to capture rainfall from surrounding buildings and roads. Phillip Johnson Landscaping has designed and completed several facilities using only rain water, which has been captured and stored.

The preliminary planning will determine how rain water can be collected and stored for the Port Douglas to initially fill the lagoon and also replenish water levels as required.

What will the annual operating costs be?

It is too early to estimate operating costs however these will be identified as part of the business case being prepared.
As Douglas Shire Council took over management of the Mossman Swimming Pool on 1 September, it will be possible to have first-hand, accurate information on operating public swimming facility.
The work done in the business case will identify all costs and provide the workings of how they are calculated. Operating costs are many and include:

  • All staff costs – pool staff, life guards, maintenance staff, night security, ground staff
  • Energy consumption – noting the vision is to design a facility which is off-grid and reliant on mains power – but even with renewal energy, there will be a cost to maintain equipment i.e. solar panels.
  • Maintenance costs over the life of the facility
  • Water consumption
  • Insurance
  • Etc.

Will ratepayers have to foot the bill for operating costs?

While people appreciate that construction of the facility will be funded by the state and federal governments, many are concerned that ratepayers will need to cover ongoing operating costs.

Council is very cognisant of this and a key element in the business case will be to identify potential revenue streams to offset operating costs.

For example, with the upgraded Surf Life Saving Club facilities, there may be opportunity to create retail space and/or conference facilities which would provide a revenue stream from the lagoon.

Will it be fresh water or salt water?

The vision is for a fresh water facility.

Will it be free entry?

At this time, it is anticipated there will be no entry fee although this aspect will be part of the business case.

When will the Business Case be completed?

Council lodged an application for a government grant to completed the business case in October 2019. The outcome of that application will be known in January 2020.
If Council’s application is unsuccessful, the funds required to do the business case will need to come from Council’s operational budget.

Will the results of the Business Case be made available to the public before a final decision is made?

Yes, the results of the business case will be published. Residents and ratepayers need to be given the opportunity to fully understand the costs and benefits of the project to make an informed opinion.

What’s the likelihood of securing government funding?

If the business case demonstrates the project will benefit the region and there is widespread community support, the likelihood of securing government funding is very high.
Since de-amalgamation in 2014, Douglas Shire Council has an exceptionally high success rate with grant applications.

We need a 50 metre lap pool, can this be incorporated into the design?

This has been raised by several people. While not obvious in the artist impressions, the larger pool does have a 55 metre length providing the ability to do laps.
This would enable the nippers from the surf club to do laps, as well as those training for sporting events.

How much will the lagoon cost to build?

We do not have a cost estimate as such, but it will be in the tens of millions of dollars. As has been said from the outset, the capital cost to construct the facility will require State and Federal funding.
A more accurate estimate will be known when preliminary plans are prepared and the business case has been completed.
The business case will identify all associated costs, (e.g. land purchases, legal fees, new Port Douglas Surf Club building, etc)

Are the rocks real?

Yes. They would be sourced from local quarries.

Aren’t there laws requiring public pools to be chlorinated?

There is no law in Queensland requiring the water in public swimming pools to be chlorinated.
There is however, a requirement under the Public Health Act 2005 that such facilities should not pose a Public Health Risk.
Council has commenced talks with Queensland Health, and the designers and Council staff held a meeting with Queensland Health during their time in Port Douglas.

Can there be more shade?

Several people have mentioned the need for more shade and yes there will be more shade than indicated in the concept plan.
It is difficult to indicate shade structures in the drawings, as it would block out the detail below, but there certainly will be more shade and this will be shown in the more detailed plans at the preliminary design stage.

Will the project have staged construction, or be built all at once?

It would be wonderful to build it all at once, but with a project of this size, in all likelihood it will be staged. The project can be done in four stages as outlined below. Refer to Staging Plan map.

Lagoon concept - Staging

Stage 1 – Zero Depth Water park; children’s area – slide, water spouts, play equipment

Stage 2 – Restoration and re-vegetation of the storm drain, particularly to provide a barrier to prevent crocodiles from entering the precinct.

Stage 3 – Construction of new Port Douglas Surf Life Saving Clubhouse and associated facilities

Stage 4 – Large pool with waterfall.

If all goes to plan, including having construction fully funded, when is the earliest date construction would commence?

Realistically, the earliest construction on Stage 1 could commence is the 2021/22 financial year.

What are the proposed operating hours?

Operating hours have not been determined. Given the opening hours impact on operating costs this will be something examined in the business case.

It will also be determined in consultation with the Port Douglas Surf Life Saving Club, the neighbouring businesses and the wider Port Douglas Community.

Nevertheless, it is very unlikely the pool will be open past 8pm or 9pm, and would likely open no earlier than 6am.

How much has Council spent thus far?

To date, Council has spent $55,000 on the project . This includes consultant fees, internal project management costs and community consultation costs.

Further feedback