HOLDING an event at Rex Smeal Park in Port Douglas just got more affordable.

Douglas Shire Council today adopted the Schedule of Fees and Charges for 2020/21, which features a more equitable ‘user pays’ system and discounts for not-for-profit groups.

Event organisers will be able to hire out sections of public parks, while the fee for booking Rex Smeal Park for wedding receptions or parties has been reduced.

The hire fee is now $555.50 per day for a wedding ceremony or party under 100 people or $708 per day for over 100 guests, down from a flat rate of $744 per day

A more equitable pricing structure was also adopted for larger events at the park.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the reduced fee is aimed at supporting local wedding and event industries.

“Rex Smeal Park is one of region’s most stunning locations,” he said.

“The tropical scenery creates a really great vibe for events and makes for some wonderful imagery.”

Council has so far received 15 bookings at Rex Smeal Park for 2021, with 11 events currently booked for 2020.

In 2019, Rex Smeal Park was booked for 27 days including Port Shorts Film Festival and Port Douglas Carnivale.

Other highlights adopted include a new fee category for local not for profit and school groups and a ‘wet season’ discount (January to March) for Port Douglas Markets stallholders.

Council also added a new 4.5-metre frontage option for stallholders and stopped any increases to stallholder fees.

All new fees and charges come into effect from July 1, 2020.

Chief Financial Officer Tara Killeen said the new schedule was more equitable and more aligned to a ‘user pays’ system.

“Wherever possible, an increase in fees and charges has been restrained to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase of 2.2%, she said.

The new fees and charges follows the roll out of economic recovery initiatives such as the COVID-19 relief package, the Buy Douglas: Build Douglas campaign, increased local procurement weighting for local suppliers and funding for an Economic Recovery Webinar program.

Council will work closely with the Economic Recovery Group and consider further measures during the preparation of the 2020/2021 Annual Budget.

The Economic Recovery Group features Douglas Shire Council, Douglas Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) and Jabalbina Aboriginal Corporation

Mayor Kerr said staff and Councillors worked hard to achieve a sensible and realistic increase in line with the CPI.

“We have put in place various initiatives to help small businesses where we can and will continue to identify opportunities to help our local community,” he said.

“I am committed to exhausting all revenue-raising options before considering any increases above CPI.”

For full schedule of fees and charges for 2020/21, please visit here.

BY THE NUMBERS

Buy Douglas Build Douglas (as of 08/06/2020):

  • $53,000 worth of advertising & media coverage through partnerships.
  • 60 local businesses involved.
  • 3100 website views
  • 1700 unique users
  • 13,000 people reached on social media.
  • 6000 views on local business promotional videos

For full schedule of fees and charges for 2020/21, please visit here.