Futrue Directions - from Julia Leu, Mayor of Douglas Shire, Queensland
Coumminity hub simplifies services.
With a large number of home-based businesses and nearly 400,000 tourists visiting annually, we wanted to create a space in the Douglas Shire that was welcoming and equipped with all the tools required to support innovation.
The result is SpacePort, housed within our recently launched Port Douglas Community Hub, which also includes Customer Service Operations and a library kiosk.
SpacePort is a casual co-working space that existing small businesses as well as new and emerging local businesses and entrepreneurs can utilise as a convenient alternative to their own homes.
It features three casual or semi-permanent desk spaces available for individuals needing somewhere quiet to focus, complete with wi-fi and a kitchenette, as well as a large room with a conference table, couch and whiteboard.
The Douglas Shire, with a population of only 11,600 people, has more than 1000 businesses registered, highlighting the large number of self-employed or home-based businesses.
These small businesses had no designated space besides their own homes or a local café to conduct business meetings or work on their computer without the distractions of home.
For many home-based businesses the cost of commercial office rental space is too prohibitive and not yet economically viable as part of their business plan.
SpacePort provides these businesses with a professional yet comfortable environment to conduct their business.
Another factor in creating SpacePort was to cater for the almost 400,000 domestic and international tourists also who visit the Douglas Shire annually.
A significant proportion of these tourists either work for themselves or are executives for large corporations, and the only place they could catch up on business prior to the establishment of SpacePort was their accommodation.
SpacePort allows them to separate their relaxation time, spent lazing by the pool at their resort with their families, and those periods where they may need to check in for work and need some privacy.
There is an option to open SpacePort outside of business hours, so if someone needs to participate in a teleconference or Skype meeting with people from overseas they can do so without waking everyone else up.
On the first day SpacePort opened in August, the first person to use the facility was an executive of a major national retailer who needed to Skype in for a meeting, which demonstrated the facility is providing a valued service.
The establishment of SpacePort supports our local tourism industry, which is 85 percent of the Shire’s economy, as these high-yield tourists know they can visit with their families and have a relaxing holiday yet still utilise the facilities to conduct their business if they need to.
SpacePort is also ideal for tertiary and secondary students to focus and study without the distractions of the home environment and enables them to work on team projects or assignments to grow their ideas.
The Port Douglas Community Hub’s new Customer Service operations means residents no longer have to travel 15km to Council’s Administration Building in Mossman to conduct transactions as there are now opportunities to meet with Council Officers at the Community Hub, as well as access to free computers in the library kiosk.
Douglas Shire Council is committed to being innovative and taking a collaborative approach to all that we do and the new Port Douglas Community Hub, in particular SpacePort, is a perfect example of this.