Town may miss tourism boat

Robert DoughertyNorth West Telegraph
Town of Port Hedland mayor Camilo Blanco and chief executive officer David Pentz at the meeting last Thursday.
Camera IconTown of Port Hedland mayor Camilo Blanco and chief executive officer David Pentz at the meeting last Thursday. Credit: North West Telegraph

An information session for the Town of Port Hedland’s Draft Strategic Community Plan erupted in debate after attendees alleged tourism was left out of the strategy.

The Town held the first of two sessions to discuss the proposed strategies at a community meeting last Thursday — drawing robust discussion from attendees at the Ibis Styles, Port Hedland.

The plan identifies the Town’s vision and priorities for the next 10 years. The data was collected from 5800 community consultations carried out late last year.

Town of Port Hedland chief executive David Pentz said the plan showed the town was happy with services and was ready for long- term thinking.

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“Our vision is to be the leading port town in Australia, embracing community, culture and environment,” he said. “The consultation showed interest in fixing current facilities and maintaining current level of service, a very mature response from the community.

“(However) we are not yet ready to respond to economic upswing, we must ensure we have a voice at the Federal level to access the opportunities we want — a sustainable approach for 20 or 30 years.”

Port Hedland Visitor Centre manager Janine Rowley said she agreed with the focus on industry; however, tourism being absent from the plan and the lack of a tourism officer was concerning. “I don’t know how it’s happened but we’ve totally missed the boat (on cruise ships) so if you don’t have someone in town in an official tourism capacity then it’s just us (at the centre) — ships are coming to Broome and ... Perth and we’re missing out.”

The next information session will be held at Wanangkura Stadium at 6pm on April 26. The chance to provide feedback for the plan ends on April 27, with the strategy presented to the council in May.

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