Security guards police toilet use at Reef resort
A STANDOFF over public use of resort facilities on a Great Barrier Reef island appears to have escalated with a security guard posted outside toilets to ensure only paying visitors can use them.
Since the start of last month, Fitzroy Island Resort has been policing a $10 fee it has imposed on visitors arriving via Experience Co's Raging Thunder ferry, wanting to use the island's resort facilities.
The levy - called Foxy's Day Pass - allows guests disembarking from the ferry to use the island resort toilets, water and waste facilities, and up to $5 can be redeemed when buying food and drinks at Foxy's Bar.
It was introduced after negotiations between Experience Co and Fitzroy Island Resort broke down about hundreds of visitors a day using the resort's facilities for free.
Fitzroy Island Resort chief executive officer Glen Macdonald said the security officer ensured only paying visitors to the island used the toilets next to Foxy's, by checking armbands.
"People don't have to use those toilets - they can use other toilets," he said.
Public toilets are also located on the northeast end of the island, at the camping ground.
Mr Macdonald said the fee was a reluctant move by the resort, as negotiations with Experience Co had still stalled.
"The negotiations have been ongoing now for over 20 months, and they stalled early with this situation," he said.
"The costs that are attributable to running the resort to service these customers, is insurmountable.
"It's just prohibitive, and in the hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Experience Co did not respond directly to a request for comment.
However Col McKenzie from the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators said negotiations between the two companies was continuing with the aim of producing the best possible environmental and visitor outcomes.
A long-term Cairns resident who visited the island on the weekend said he was appalled by the visitor fee, particularly when he tried to use the toilets next to Foxy's and was confronted by the security guard checking bracelets.
He said there was no mention of the fee when he purchased ferry tickets through Raging Thunder, until he arrived at the island.
"It's petty and ludicrous, and an appalling way to treat tourists and locals," he said.
"It's definitely going to be the last time I'll be visiting the island."
He said there was no signage indicating the location of the campground toilets, which were at the opposite end of the island's main beach, about 500m away from Foxys Bar.