The future of the Port Douglas commercial fishing industry has been secured with a landmark decision by Douglas Shire Council.
Council yesterday agreed to issue the Port Douglas Commercial Fishermen’s Association with a Permit to Occupy approximately 600 square metres of Lot 96 adjacent to new proposed marina berths.
The PDCFA will utilise the land for storage required for trawler/fishing operations, amenities, parking and the out-of-season storage of dories for the next three years for a nominal annual fee of $150.
Prior to the expiration of this three-year period, Council will consult with the PDCFA to determine whether a further non-commercial tenure period is required or if a longer lease and change in reserve purpose is required to pave the way for a commercial “fishermen’s wharf” on the site.
Council has also resolved to facilitate the approvals required for the construction of the trawler berthing facility and onshore infrastructure by The Reef Marina at its cost.
Council will construct access for the PDCFA through Lot 96 and undertake any civil works required to bring the portion of Lot 96 to be occupied under the permit to the appropriate standard.
Mayor Julia Leu hailed the landmark decision and the commitment of Council, the PDCFA and The Reef Marina to resolve the long-running tenure issue.
“For as long as anyone can remember and decades before tourism arrived in the Douglas Shire, Port Douglas was renowned as a fishing village,” Mayor Leu said.
“I’m delighted we’ve been able to work with the Port Douglas Fishermen’s Association and The Reef Marina to ensure this historic link is retained.
“Port Douglas was built on the blood and sweat of commercial fishermen, they have contributed so much not just to our local economy but our community spirit, and I’m extremely proud we’ve been able to facilitate this outcome.
“I’d like to thank the commercial fishermen and The Reef Marina for negotiating such a positive result with Council, one that will ensure the commercial fishermen have a strong presence in Port Douglas for future generations.”
Council will now enter into a Deed of Agreement with TRM, which will enable TRM to further progress its $85 million redevelopment of the marina as approved by Council last month.