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Opportunity for residents to voice views on Darwin Harbour

Dr Tom Brewer said he was hoping to engage more residents to become involved in the project Dr Tom Brewer said he was hoping to engage more residents to become involved in the project

Top End residents have placed recreational and aesthetic values above economic values in and around Darwin Harbour, preliminary results of a community consultation-based research project suggests.

Research Fellow from the Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University Dr Tom Brewer has spent several months gauging development preferences of residents who live in the Darwin Harbour Catchment area after they completed a visual survey. 

A joint project with the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and supported by City of Darwin, Dr Brewer said community consultation was vital to the future of the harbour.

“Recreation, aesthetic, biodiversity, and wilderness values were the highest scoring landscape values,” Dr Brewer said. “The preference of ‘no development’ was also highly ranked compared to other development options.”

He said that more community involvement was needed to build a clearer picture of the community’s views about the future of the harbour and he was hoping to engage more residents to become involved in the project.

“With the harbour earmarked for development it is important to identify what residents value most, and to identify where the residents would like to see particular types of development occur, or not,” he said.

“For example, preliminary survey results show a strong preference for industrial development to be focused around the east arm of the harbour, which is in contrast to the draft development plan, which proposes greater spatial spread of ‘industry’ and ‘strategic industry’.”

Dr Brewer said despite its iconic value and significant use by locals and visitors, there was no representative baseline data on what the residents living within the catchment value most.

He said residents could get involved in the project by completing a survey and returning it to him.

“It doesn’t matter how much time you spend on or around the harbour – everyone’s view is relevant,” Dr Brewer said.

“The idea of the survey is for people to place the stickers in order of value on the map. The stickers represent which areas are important to them and why.”

He said those who completed the survey would go into the draw to win an iPad.

For further information there is a link to the project at this website W: www.cdu.edu.au/northern-institute or to be involved in the project contact Dr Brewer via email E: tom.brewer@cdu.edu.au .