MAG­GIE BRIDGE A GREAT DIVIDE

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DOMANII CAMERON

A TOWNSVILLE tourism op­er­a­tor has re­vived the call for a bridge to be built from the main­land to Mag­netic Is­land.

Black River Sta­dium Car­a­van Park owner William Con­don said the project would mean de­vel­op­ers could seize the op­por­tu­nity to in­vest on the is­land.

The idea, which has been touted for decades, would see a road bridge con­structed from Cape Pal­larenda to West Point on the is­land.

How­ever, the pro­posal has re­ceived mixed re­views, with some busi­ness op­er­a­tors dub­bing the idea a “dou­ble- edged sword”.

Mr Con­don, who used to own Pure Plea­sure Cruises, said it would put Townsville on the map.

He said he knew what tourism whole­salers were search­ing for.

“Peo­ple are fall­ing over them­selves to go to Bali, whereas Mag­netic Is­land could eas­ily take the place of Bali for young peo­ple,” he said. “It re­ally opens the flood­gates for Townsville to be­come a des­ti­na­tion and not just a petrol and gro­cery stop.

“I be­lieve there are some ar­eas at West Point where you could de­velop that. Surely there are ways and means around that where the State Gov­ern­ment could help.

“It’s such an im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment.”

Mag­netic In­former’s Mick Do­ran said there were two ways of look­ing at the bridge.

“Yes, it would def­i­nitely open up tourism and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties on the is­land, no doubt about it,” he said. “House prices would in­crease. But on the nega­tive, all you have to do is go and look at Bri­bie Is­land; you can’t get a park.

“It’s a dou­ble- edged sword. The is­land re­tains a lot of its unique­ness by the fact that we have 8km of wa­ter.”

Townsville En­ter­prise tourism and event di­rec­tor Brid­get Woods said the tourism body be­lieved the is­land was a unique prod­uct.

“It’s one of the only is­lands on the Great Bar­rier Reef with a com­mu­nity who lives there,” she said.

“It’s of­fer­ing.

“Build­ing ne­ces­sity.”

Ms Woods said for the is­land to keep its “au­then­tic” feel it needed to re­main sep­a­rate from the main­land.

Cham­ber of Com­merce’s Deb­bie Rains said any­thing that would gen­er­ate jobs or lo­cal busi­ness was wel­comed.

“We cer­tainly en­cour­age that type of ini­tia­tive and busi­ness sug­ges­tion,” she said.

“It’s good and en­cour­ag­ing that peo­ple are hav­ing th­ese dis­cus­sions.

“But if they build the bridge there won’t be a need for the fer­ries; it’s quite fab­u­lous to be able to get on a ferry.” al­ready a a very bridge spe­cial isn’t a

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