A HYBRID solar-powered vehicle ferry with a greater carrying capacity is a planned addition to the Daintree River Ferry Crossing fleet under the next contract.
Following a tender process that drew international attention, Douglas Shire Council today resolved to allow the Chief Executive Officer to finalise contractual negotiations with local company, Sirron Enterprises Pty Ltd.
The contractors have operated the ferry crossing since 2006.
The proposed 36-vehicle ferry, which would operate on solar power a majority of the time, would carry nine extra vehicles and operate in the main channel, while the current 27-vehicle ferry would operate downstream in a second channel to alleviate traffic congestion during peak tourist season.
Douglas Shire Council Mayor Julia Leu said the winning contractors were enthusiastic about building a second ferry and fixing congestion issues at the crossing.
“This is an exciting moment for residents who frequently use the crossing and future visitors to the Daintree Coast,” she said.
“It is great to see a local company put a strong case forward in a competitive field; in particular this contractor who has a strong track record having provided a reliable service for more than a decade.
“Council is excited to continue improving the iconic Daintree River crossing with our contractors, who have committed to rolling out online ticketing, camera technology, a dedicated website and alleviating peak season queueing issues through a two-ferry solution.”
Council will release a tender for the design of new roads, barge ramps, pylons and a second river channel in the coming weeks, before it submits plans to the State Government for approval.
In preparation for the new service in 2021, Council has allocated $250,000 from the Daintree River Ferry Reserve towards these infrastructure upgrades.
As part of this process, Council will go back out to the community to get ideas on ways to improve the Daintree Gateway precinct.
Council will announce details for the community engagement sessions in the New Year.
The next contract will officially start on July 1, 2021.
“The most important aspect of this contract is there is a proposed solution to reduce wait times and queues in peak tourist season,” Mayor Leu said.
“We are particularly pleased with our local community, who can be proud with the way helped mould the new contract and improved services.”
Follow the below link for more information and a re-cap of community engagement: