‘Al fresco’ waterfront dining with spectacular views over the Coral Sea; a café-lined public plaza for catching up with friends; public art pieces showcasing the Port Douglas narrative; luxury townhouses, apartments and high-end holiday accommodation; a lush landscaped Arbour Park linking the marina and the town centre; an iconic over-water public boardwalk experience; and new berthing facilities to promote cruise ship visitation…

This is The Reef Marina’s vision for the renewal of the Port Douglas waterfront. This vision has now moved one step closer with the lodgement last week of a waterfront redevelopment masterplan for consideration by Douglas Shire Council.

The Port Douglas waterfront adjacent to the marina is dilapidated and a scar upon a town that relies so heavily upon tourism. Redevelopment of the waterfront has been mooted for decades but is now able to progress under the stewardship of The Reef Marina.

The masterplan establishes key features, land-uses and staging for the redevelopment of the Port Douglas waterfront. Once approved, detailed architectural designs will be submitted for Council consideration seeking approval to commence this important project.

The Reef Marina’s plan embraces the key themes of the Port Douglas Waterfront Masterplan (2009). The unused northern wing of the retail complex will be replaced by a beautifully landscaped Arbour Park to strengthen the connections between the marina and the Port Douglas town centre. Adjacent to the Duck Pond, a public plaza will replace the slipway and provide a place to congregate and to enjoy a new viewing corridor across Dicksons Inlet. A public boardwalk will run along the waterfront between the marina and the public plaza and provide spectacular views across the Coral Sea and towards the Daintree Rainforest. Luxury townhouses and apartments will provide new high-end accommodation options for visitors and residents. New restaurants, bars, cafes and retail spaces will enhance the lifestyle amenity of the Port Douglas waterfront. And new dedicated berthing facilities for cruise ship tenders will promote increased cruise ship visitation.

The Reef Marina’s waterfront renewal masterplan represents the largest development project proposed in Port Douglas. The multi-million dollar investment will create hundreds of construction and permanent jobs and will revitalise Port Douglas’ reputation as a premium tourist destination. The project will complement The Reef Marina’s upgrade works and recently completed ‘superyacht’ expansion project.

The Reef Marina has proactively addressed important community expectations such as public waterfront access and berthing of commercial fishing trawlers. But the Council’s desire to retain the slipway until alternative slipway facilities are operating is not practical and may jeopardise the viability of the project. There is no place for an outdated heavy industrial facility in the heart of this vibrant tourist town and residential community. The Reef Marina’s vision, when realised – and in anticipation of a prompt masterplan approval by the Council – will establish the Port Douglas waterfront as a world-class dining, entertainment, maritime, residential and tourism showcase.