Thank you Douglas
Now that the votes are in, People of Douglas would like to offer our sincere appreciation and a great big thank you for all the support and well wishes we have received from all corners of our wonderful community during our short campaign.
It was always going to be a hard task to overcome five years of detailed planning by FODS given we started our campaign just two months ago when it became obvious only one side of the debate was getting most of the air play. We fought hard to ensure our message was heard and the results show it clearly was. Thank you.
However, unfortunately, we were unable to overcome the enormous resentment that was rightly felt by most in the community, including most of us, in the way amalgamation was pushed on us in the first place. This meant it was extremely difficult to have an informed debate about the real issues and what we honestly believe would have been the best way forward for the community in general.
We are proud of the campaign we ran, we focused on the facts about the most critical issues. Hopefully, that informed debate can still take place to help secure the future that will no doubt throw up many challenges, especially in the coming months and years, as things change yet again.
We offer our congratulations to FODS; they too worked hard for what they believe, over a very long period. And they prevailed.
If you would like to see exactly the how the voting went, the results can be viewed here.
Once again, thank you so much for your support, we wish you well for the future whatever it may bring.
People of Douglas
De-amalgamation is not the best or only option for the people of the old Douglas Shire to resolve any shortcomings that currently exist in our relationship with the CRC. There is a better way.
Since amalgamation some in our community have taken a negative, confrontational approach to problem solving with the CRC. This approach has had five years to be tested and measured and it has clearly not fostered a good positive relationship. However contrary to claims made, the CRC and its Councillors are not uncaring, uninformed or uninterested in our corner of the region. That's a ridiculous claim to make and is completely without foundation and more a poor reflection on our attitude than theirs.
A better way would be to be positive and constructive and work proactively and in harmony with the CRC, becoming an important and respected partner in the planning, governance and management of our wonderful region. People respond much better to people who genuinely want to work together in the best interest of everyone, not just in the interest of the individuals concerned or their particular view. This is human nature, common sense and a proven winning strategy.
The Boundaries Commissioner has recommended the establishment of a Division 10 Service and Consultation Committee for Douglas to advise CRC on local matters. Some have argued this was tried via the Douglas Advisory Board and Douglas Community Water Reference Group without success. But with the strong backing of the State Government, the new CRC Councillors and a concerted and honest effort from our community to work collaboratively, this Standing Committee can be an effective vehicle for improved representation.
Mayor Bob Manning made this point and committed his full support in a recent interview in Port Douglas.
We strongly believe this new committee, if made up of non-aligned, non-political, objective and reasonable people (of which there are many in our community) from a cross section of our community, can make the amalgamation work and bring our community together in a way we can all be proud of, for the betterment of our entire region.
Via this committee, we could ensure things like:
our environmental, economic and social fabric are protected and enhanced;
our water supply is as good as it can be;
our unique identity and points of differentiation are maintained in support of our tourism industry; and
most importantly, our concerns, aspirations and priorities are listened to and acted on.
We strongly believe amalgamation can work if given a fair chance. A committee of respected and experienced community leaders would be able to fully and fairly represent us to the regional Council. We don't need to go through the cost, pain and aggravation of de-amalgamation and then electing our own local Council every four years in search of the goals and outcomes that have alluded us since the world starting coming to our region.
And it won't cost us thousands of dollars per ratepayer, money that could be better spent on critical infrastructure maintenance and new capital works to improve our lifestyles, business prospects and general well-being.
And maybe, just maybe, it will put an end to the constant bickering once and for all and unite our community behind common goals.