Port Douglas group backs one council
A GROUP of Port Douglas residents are making their voices heard against council de-amalgamation.
Former Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce president and resident of 20 years, Ken Dobbs, said he couldn't think of any good reason for de-amalgamation of the shire from Cairns Regional Council.
“Since day one of amalgamation in 2008, there has been a lot of strong feelings here about the issue," he said. "It's been like a war and it has created divisions in the community.”
Mr Dobbs believes a larger entity such as Cairns Regional Council, can better provide infrastructure in Port Douglas.
“The basic services that have been provided are at a cheaper and better rate,” he said. “I think Cairns Regional Council has done quite a good job. They have made mistakes of course but any council does.”
The main concern for residents wanting to keep the status quo, is increasing rates if the split is voted in by referendum on March 9.
“To believe the rates aren't going to go up really is the danger,'' Mr Dobbs said. “We will be spending $700 a year for nothing.”
He said the group would voice its opinion next week after collating information to counter the claims of lobby group Friends of Douglas Shire. He said there was a silent majority who were unwilling to speak out because they would appear "disloyal" to the region.
Resident Will Devlin, who has lived in the coastal town for seven years, welcomed the public debate but is adamant the current council alignment should remain.
He said the decision to approve a referendum from a petition signed by only 2000 people made a mockery of government power and didn't necessarily translate to a vote.
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Divided township: some Port Douglas residents disagree with de-amalgamation and have formed a group to make their voices heard.