Kuranda was a top priority for the Mareeba Shire Council at its last meeting with three items in the agenda relevant to Kuranda.
Three items were brought up in the latest MSC meeting on Wednesday May 20 and all had to do with the suffering tourism industry in Kuranda.
The Tourism Kuranda Levy was brought under council’s attention after many months of levy payers complaining about the Levy charge.
After taking into consideration the local’s views through a ballot a whopping 2/3rds of Kuranda commercial property owners wanted to get rid of the levy.
Deputy Mayor Kevin Davies stated in the meeting that the numbers spoke for themselves.
“Even if we take the no response vote and put them with the yes vote, the no vote still wins,” he said.
The Levy was introduced over 20 years ago as an effort to use the money from local Levy payers in Kuranda to up their advertising and improve the tourism industry locally.
With the impacts of COVID-19 being felt everywhere and especially in the tourism industry, locals just couldn’t justify paying extra for a service that they questioned the benefit of.
Mayor Angela Toppin said that the feedback council received clearly stated that the vast majority of Kuranda residents did not want to continue to pay the levy.
“Council considered the feedback received and several options to keep Kuranda Tourism going, however it was evident by the results that property owners did not see the value of Tourism Kuranda,” Cr Toppin said.
“This is unfortunate as the marketing of Kuranda as a destination is important.
“Council is happy to revisit this in the future if the commercial property owners in Kuranda change their minds and ask us to.”
The remaining funds already collected by the levy will be still be used to promote Kuranda until they expire.
Next on the agenda for MSC was the installation of wayfinding signs as a part of the Kuranda revitalisation project.
The signs are used to help direct visitors around the town and to their many tourist locations and shops.
Mayor Angela Toppin stated that “the signs will provide an enhanced Village in the Rainforest tourist experience.”
“Extensive consultation was carried out seeking submission and comment from the Kuranda community with a view to implementing a signage style and design consistent with existing Kuranda branding,” she said.
“A final concept was presented to Council and we look forward to seeing the project get underway.”
Finally, a new walking trail has started construction in Kuranda and commenced works two weeks ago.
The ‘Barron Falls Walking Trail’ is a new project that will allow the already existing ‘Jungle Walk’ to be improved upon.
Stage one of the development will see the tails extension from its start at the Kuranda Information Centre to Weir Rd.
The second stage will lengthen the trail again and link it through the Barron Gorge National Park from Weir Rd to the Barron Falls car park area.
The improvements will allow local and visitors to experience the beauty of Kuranda’s natural forests and the raging tide of the Barron Falls.
Councillor Lenore Wyatt is ecstatic about the new trails approval and believes it will do wonders for the community.
“The new walk will be connecting Kuranda up to the Barron falls which will be amazing when the falls are in flood,” she said.
“This kind of development will attract a new type of visitor for the community and give it a much needed boost.
“I am super excited about this walk and many of the other things coming to Kuranda.”
The ‘Barron Falls Walking Trail’ is aimed to be finished construction by the end of the year and be open to the public.