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A LONG-term plan to preserve the multi-million-dollar avenue of trees lining the entrance to Port Douglas will be developed as part of a collection of new initiatives designed to foster economic growth and enhance the liveability of Douglas Shire.

Douglas Shire Council today committed to achieving 47 initiatives across five strategic themes areas in the 2021-22 Operational Plan.

Council also voted to complete a business case for an RV Park in Mossman and progress work on the Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said a long-term succession plan for the Port Douglas oil palms was needed to preserve and protect the avenue of trees.

“We need to review options for the long term replacement and maintenance of these oil palms, which have become an absolute asset to our tourist town over the past decades,” he said.

“Many visitors love Port Douglas for its beautiful beach, amazing bars and restaurants, and relaxed atmosphere, but looking at the iconic avenue of trees is often the first and last experience on their holiday so we need to have a plan in place to protect it.”

“We have done an audit of the 608 trees and while only a small number are suffering, I feel now is the right time for us to be strategic about their future as we continue to enhance our public spaces.”

Other key initiatives include:

  • Implement an external Indigenous Consultative Committee
  • Improvements to Rex Smeal Park
  • Developing an all-abilities access plan
  • Enhanced public spaces
  • Progressing plans on the Mossman Pool redevelopment.

Councillors also voted to continue to investigate opportunities in the RV Strategy, including a business case and cost-benefit analysis to be completed for an RV park in Mossman.

Staff will also progress work on the Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct.

Following approval of a concept and detailed design, Council will hold further community consultation and seek to secure funding for the Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct, prioritising a splash park in phase one.

Mayor Kerr said a considered approach was needed for these exciting projects.

“Council is taking a staged attitude towards these initiatives which requires careful planning and smart investment” he said.

“Importantly, while the Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct design will encompass a longer-term version which includes a pool, the more immediate priority is a splash park.”

The Operational Plan is formulated to identify and determine what actions are to be undertaken for the financial year. It is the annual plan to deliver on the Council’s strategic themes, goals and initiatives as articulated in the 2019-24 Corporate Plan.

The public can monitor Council’s progress via quarterly reports which are tabled at Ordinary Council Meetings and published on Council’s website.

An assessment of operational performance is included in Council’s Annual Report each year.

Mayor Kerr said Council’s second operational plan set a broad range of targets for the organisation to hit next financial year.

“Personally, I am really excited to see how we can improve Rex Smeal Park, which is popular spot for young families, the Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct and progress the redevelopment of the Mossman Pool for our community,” he said.

“We are also focussing on the nuts and bolts of region by further enhancing our public spaces, developing a prioritised gravel re-sheet program for unsealed roads and moving forward with plans to bring a viable water security solution to shovel-ready status.

“I would like to thank my fellow Councillors and staff for pulling together a number of fantastic initiatives in our second operational plan.”

View the full list of initiatives and targets listed in the 2021-22 Operational Plan below:

Celebrating Our Communities

GOAL 1: We will celebrate the diversity of our community and ensure that all infrastructure, programs, and services are underpinned with inclusiveness and accessibility

  • Indigenous Committee – Implement an external Indigenous Consultative Committee that works with Council on opportunities such as social enterprise, employment, health outcomes, cultural programs, art, youth and sport for First Nations Peoples in the Shire.

Target – 1) Establishment of the Committee
2) Terms of Reference
3) Meetings have commenced

  • Mossman Shire Hall Upgrade – Implementation of building upgrades to enhance amenity, functionality and disability access to increase patronage.

Target – Program of works includes installation of air conditioning, ceiling fans, acoustic improvements and building infrastructure

  • Indigenous signage – Complete rollout of the Indigenous Signage Project to install interpretive signs. Pending capital works availability

Target – Signs erected

  • Development of an all-ability accessibility plan – Work with the Disability Access Group to identify and prioritise infrastructure improvements to enhance accessibility to public spaces. Mossman accessibility.

Target – Prioritised Program of works to inform 10-year CAPEX program.

  • Social Housing – Work with the Department of Housing, providers and stakeholders to identify gaps in social housing in the Shire and advocate for an improved business model that will increase housing stock and reduce wait times.

Target – Collect data, analyse, bring report to Council.

GOAL 2 - We will deliver programs and services that protect and enhance the liveability of our beautiful Shire

  • Oil Palm Strategy – Review options for long term replacement of oil palms and develop maintenance management plan.

Target – Strategy with options and business case. 

  • Port Douglas Aquatic Precinct – Following approval of concept and detailed design progress towards funding
    for an aquatic precinct, that includes a splash park. Ensure community engagement. The splash park will be phase one.

Target – Completed designs, community engagement and identification of potential funding sources. Importantly, while the design will encompass the longer-term version which includes a pool, the more immediate priority is the splash park. Therefore, designs should enable a phased approach to actual construction.

  • Mossman Pool Redevelopment –Following a revised Masterplan progress to complete detailed design and continue to make improvements in line with the concept and Masterplan. Continue to seek funding for the redevelopment to enhance facilities.

Target – Finalised plans and funding acquired.  

  • Rex Smeal Park improvements –Design for playground, disability access, better parking and pedestrian access – await for full grant funding for any actual capital works – need to also analyse the demographic – what is the market – who is it being built for.

Target – Finalised designs and cost estimates (shovel ready project) to facilitate grant submissions. Further community consultation

  • Park and Open Spaces beautification & infrastructure upgrade – Upgrade/ renewal of park & open spaces infrastructure and landscaping. Improve amenity and all ability access.

Target – Enhanced amenities and user safety in Council parks and open space areas

  • Dog registration audit –Review and audit the dog registration program.

Target – Audit completed

  • Gravel road seal program –Develop prioritised program of un-sealed roads that would benefit from being sealed.

Target – Prioritised list of projects to inform 10-year CAPEX program.

  • Port Douglas Drainage Strategy –Undertake a hydraulic study for Port Douglas to identify
    and prioritise projects to improve drainage.

Target – Prioritised list of projects to inform 10-year CAPEX program.

GOAL 3 - We will develop programs that promote health, well-being and safety in the community

  • Sports and Recreation Actions – Following the approval of the Sports and Recreation Strategy deliver three initiatives from the strategy that enhances sport participation, recreation activities and promotes well-being in the Shire.

Target Enhanced sport participation, club development and healthy and active initiatives. 

  • Develop CCTV strategy for Douglas – Consultation with community, businesses, police. Prepare
    a plan to enable to secure grant funding, enhance safety.

Target – Identification of key locations to assist in seeking grant funding

  • Road safety Improvements –Establish a register of projects that would improve road safety for all users (vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists) throughout the region for implementation when funding opportunities arise.

TargetImplementation of Intersection upgrades and speed management measures.

  • Road and Footpath lighting program –Develop prioritised program of road/ pedestrian lighting upgrades to provide a higher level of safety and amenity and compliance with relevant standards.

TargetEnhanced sport participation, club development and healthy and active initiatives. 

GOAL 4 - We will promote arts and culture programs and events that bring vibrancy to the community and compliment the tourist experience

  • Arts Strategy – Review the Arts Strategy to enhance and direct Council’s commitment to the development of a vibrant arts culture and industry in the region.

TargetUpdated Arts Strategy

Fostering Sustainable Economic Growth

GOAL 1: We will build appropriate infrastructure and deliver services that connect and support businesses

  • Ferry Gateway infrastructure plan – Develop plans for two ferry solution and required infrastructure

Target – Plans well progressed.

GOAL 2 - We will work with partners to promote the Shire as the World's leading sustainable tropical destination and encourage business investment

  • Innovation Hub –Develop concept for a public innovation hub including development of a business case, options analysis and initial community engagement.

Target – Determine if feasible and business case developed

  • Eco-Destination –Strengthen the ECO accreditation criteria and complete a desktop audit.

Target – Review completed.

GOAL 3 - We will develop strategies that seek to diversify the Shire's economic base

  • Investigate alternative energy solutions –Advocate, track developments and look at any economic opportunities for alternative energy solutions as a potential industry for the Shire – bring report back to Council for future direction

Target Adopted strategy and options analysis

  • Continue to investigate opportunities in the RV Strategy –Complete a business case and cost benefit analysis for a potential development of an RV park within Mossman. Identify possible sites.

Target Completion and adoption of a business case and project plan.

  • Economic Development Strategy – Implement and deliver at least three initiatives from the Economic Development Strategy that support economic growth in the Shire and new opportunities to grow the Shire’s GRP.

1) Development of investment prospectus
2) List of priority infrastructure projects
3) Adopt Queensland Small Business Friendly Charter

Target – Supports economic and social growth

  • Port Douglas Markets Review – Revise Port Douglas Markets Policy and processes to ensure enhanced future planning and advancement. Make minor capital improvements to enhance stall holder’s infrastructure and facilities.

TargetA series of recommendations for Council adoption and small facilities enhancements

Leading Environmental Stewardship

GOAL 1: We will protect our sensitive environment and plan for the impact of climate change

  • Reef Assist actions – Finalise and adopt Foreshore Management Plans for five key beach areas. Undertake revegetation and access formalisation in identified areas.

Target – Actions completed.

  • Reef Guardian – Undertake five new actions under the Reef Guardian Council Program.

Target – Actions completed.

  • Soil Carbon Strategy – Investigate Federal Government’s Soil Carbon initiative, monitor developments and analyse applicability to local agriculture.

Target – Report to Council.

GOAL 2 - We will implement programs that reduce and offset our environmental footprint.

  • Identification of carbon neutral council fleet options – Investigate options to reduce carbon footprint. Update AMP to be inclusive of environmentally sustainable measures

Target – Strategy for Council consideration

  • Illegal dumping program – Continue the Illegal Dumping program and seek funding from the State for assistance in the employment of the illegal dumping officer and the clean-up of hot spot sites.

Target – Decrease in illegal dumping

  • Waste audit of kerbside collection –Carry out and audit of kerbside waste and recycling bins to identify opportunities for education and improved recycling.

Target – Audit completed, recommendations determined, report to Council

GOAL 3 - We will continue to build water infrastructure so that the Douglas Shire may enjoy water security and water quality.

  • Future Water Security – Progress future water security infrastructure solution for secure water supply over the dry season to alleviate current and future water shortages. Perform feasibility analysis on all current proposed water security solutions including the alternate intake and bulk raw water storage solutions to determine most viable option that provides the best outcome for capital investment and water security then progress towards shovel ready stage.

Target Most viable project is progressed to shovel ready stage to enable grant funding applications to commence.

  • Smart Water Meter Rollout – Continue the rollout of smart water meters to move beyond Port Douglas and include Mossman and surrounding area.

Target – Stage 2 of smart water meter implemented and quantifiable water security data readily available

GOAL 4 - We will partner with the community to educate and monitor.

  • Waste education program –Conduct a targeted waste education program aligning with the new collection contract and the capabilities of the new Material Recycling Facility in Cairns.

Target Training completed

  • Continue water education program – Grow the water education program through primary schools and community groups to engender a greater knowledge of the water cycle and water security within Douglas.

Target – An evolving and maturing education program with Douglas specific educational material.

Inclusive Engagement, Planning and Partnerships

GOAL 2 - We will develop forward-looking strategies for the future of our communities and we will ensure balanced and appropriate planning decisions

  • Development of a street tree register framework –Development of a project plan for the development of a significant tree register in the shire for trees on Council land.

Target – Proposed framework and report to Council

  • Planning Scheme Updates –Undertake amendments to align the Planning Scheme with the Planning Act, adjust overlay mapping and zones where required (i.e take account of recent investigations – CHAS & storm tide) amend planning scheme codes and assessment tables to the extent necessary to capture development we want to capture etc.

The survey with targeted industry members is intended to assist with informing these amendments. This amendment would be a major amendment and will require state interest checks, public notification etc.

Target – Identified work completed

Robust Governance and Efficient Service Delivery

GOAL 1: We will conduct Council business in an open and transparent manner with strong oversight and open reporting

  • Implement PDF framework – Adopt and implement a Project Decision Framework that will guide Council in making asset and investment management decisions using industry best practice.

Target – Framework implemented

  • Delegations Register – Implement a software program to streamline the maintenance of Council’s Delegation Register.

Target – Streamline system Policy Developed  – Procedure Developed – Staff training rolled out – Overall Reduction in time to update register and roll out.

  • Right to Information & Information Privacy –Undertake audit of the Right to Information and Information process. Develop a Right to Information Policy and Procedure. Undertake training for staff to better understand the processes involved with Right to Information.

Target – RTI Policy Developed – RTI Procedure Developed – IP Policy Reviewed – IP Procedure Developed – Develop action plan – Staff Training rolled out

  • Complaints Management –Undertake full review of the Complaints Management System Processes

Target – Complaints Management Policy Reviewed – Complaints Management Policy implemented – Develop action plan from the Internal Audit recommendations – Undertake Actions – Staff Training rolled out

GOAL 2 - We will put the customer at the centre of our service delivery and process improvement as we deliver efficient and appropriate services based on community expectations

  • Lease policy –Continue to rollout Council’s Lease Policy that supports community and commercial leases and shared facilities in the Shire. Maximising community benefits arising from the use while ensuring responsible management of community assets and accountability.

Target – To be determined

GOAL 3 - We will make sound financial decisions by ensuring robust strategic planning, financial management and reporting

  • General Rates model Review – Stage 2 – Continue review of Douglas Shire General Rates model

Target – General Rates Model that is fair and equitable

  • Asset management system –Review Enterprise Asset Management Systems, procure and commence implementation across the organisation.

Target – Asset Management System purchased and implementation commenced.

GOAL 4 - We will work with our communities to ensure they are informed, empowered and supported so that they are resilient to the impacts of disaster events

  • Support Inclusive and Resilient Communities – Plan and deliver projects for implementing Targeted Disaster Resilience and Business Continuity for Indigenous Communities and Douglas businesses. Strengthen (post) COVID-19 recovery projects that feed into the Regional and State Recovery Plans.

Target – To be determined

  • Strengthen the Shire’s flood planning and response capability – Develop and implement storm tide and flood resources including mapping, forecasting and modelling to increase data accuracy, future planning and awareness.

Target – To be determined

  • Enhance disaster management capacity –Pursue grant funding to increasing the functionality of the Port Douglas Storm Tide Cyclone Shelter (PDSTCS) and the construction of a multi-purpose Disaster Coordination Training Centre. Conduct research studies to inform Local Disaster Management Plan including the review and update of Douglas Shire Council’s Places of Refuge list and a register of vulnerable properties/asbestos containing properties.

Target – To be determined


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