Douglas Shire Council has unveiled a vision to build Australia’s first chemical-free swimming hole next to Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas. The Port Douglas Surf Lifesaving Club and surrounding land has been earmarked for the project. An artists impressions shows cascading waterfalls, adult and kids swim area, large natural boulders and a wooden boardwalk.

Project Updates


Council has added two more FAQs after further questions came following the public consultation sessions.

They are:

  • Blue green algae grows in sunlight and heat. It causes skin conditions, nausea and headaches. How will this be prevented?
  • People will use sunscreen and insecticide. How will the chemicals in these products be removed from the water?

Visit the FAQ page for a detailed response.


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

  • Council has published a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and responses here.
  • We invited comments on a ‘Graffiti Wall’ during consultation and in the Mossman Administration Building. View comments here.
  • A copy of the presentation made by council staff is here.


Douglas Shire Council announced three, two-hour-long community engagement sessions headlined by world-renowned landscape architect, Phillip Johnson, and key Council officers as it dives into its first round of public consultation on the proposed project. The consultation, which takes place on Wednesday 11th December at the Port Douglas Community Hall, will provide opportunities for the public to get more information from the multi award-winning designer and ask questions about the project. The sessions will start at 10am, 2pm and 5.30pm.


A total of 218 people responded to a survey designed to gather first impressions on the vision. The vision was scored 80 out of 100 by respondents. Support sits at 81% with 19% against it.


A GRAND vision to build Australia’s first chemical-free public swimming hole next to Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas has been unveiled by Douglas Shire Council. World-renowned landscape designer Phillip Johnson, who won ‘Best in Show’ at the 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, was in town last week to deliver the visionary design. An artists’ impression reveals a large freshwater swimming area for adults and kids, cascading waterfalls, boardwalk, large natural boulders and a variety of native vegetation.

Lagoon concept - Staging

Community Consultation

Click here for details on past, current & future consultation opportunities


More than 130 people attended the various community engagement sessions held with landscape designer Phillip Johnson and Douglas Shire Council staff this week for the first round of public consultation.

  • A list of FAQs and key points has been published here.
  • View ‘Graffiti Wall’ comments here.
  • A copy of the presentation made by council staff is here.

Please provide any further feedback or ask questions below.

In the News

Additional Information

What is a chemical-free swimming pool?

Chemical-free swimming pools are designed to use naturally occurring filtration systems for clear swimming water. The first natural swimming pools were built almost 30 years ago in Germany. They use aquatic plants and river stones to regulate water quality. Water also passes through custom filters to deal with algae and other organisms.

How does a chemical-free swimming pool work?

Phillip Johnson Landscapes pools are chemical free, low maintenance and filtered naturally using a biological filtration system and have enormous environmental benefits.

Natural pools are created and maintained in a way to ensure optimum oxygen levels in the water, thus preventing any odour, hygiene issues and maintaining great water clarity. Friendly microorganisms and minerals in the system control levels of phosphorus PH and nitrogen, resulting in chemical free, mineralised pool water.

The biologically clear water in the swimming area and the water in the plant zone (filtration zone) will be interlinked to provide water movement required to clean the water year round. Optionally, waterfalls, and creeks can be added to further enhance the landscape and swimming experience.

Phillip Johnson Landscapes is partnered with Polyplan in Germany (http://www.polyplan-umwelt.de/en/) who have been involved in many natural swimming pools, building over 65 natural public pools and over 100 private pools. Polyplan currently monitor and manage over 400 public natural pools remotely all across Europe and Asia.

Who is Phillip Johnson?

Multi-award winning landscape designer.

  • 2009 – Gold Medal at Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show
  • 2010 – Premier’s Sustainability Awards (Victoria)
  • 2013 – Chelsea Flower Show

Full list of awards: https://www.phillipjohnson.com.au/awards/

  • Owns Phillip Johnson Landscapes
  • Designs and builds innovative and sustainable landscapes, as well as natural pools that celebrate Australia’s natural beauty.
  • Has built many private natural swimming pools in Australia.


For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Gaye Scott on 0418 793 009 or gaye.scott@douglas.qld.gov.au