Buses bring life back to Airlie Crescent
AIRLIE Crescent is open for business. This is the message to Whitsunday residents, visitors to the region and local tour operators from business owners on the street.
Co-owner of the holiday apartments at Waterview Airlie Beach, Bill Kellaris, said it was almost a year ago that the road was closed after residents and business owners lost a long-running battle with Council to stop the street from becoming a cul-de-sac as part of the overall Airlie main street redevelopment plan.
“8am, July 24, 2012 – that’s when they dropped the ‘road closed’ sign on Airlie Crescent,” Mr Kellaris said.
In the 12 months that followed, Mr Kellaris said the road closure almost brought his business to its knees.
“We shut for five months and we had to let go of two staff,” he said.
Waterview re-opened on May 3 and on Friday, July 5, the first Whitsunday Transit bus in a year, pulled up outside its doors.
“When we saw the bus, we just freaked. I said ‘hallelujah’,” Mr Kellaris said.
Whitsunday Transit driver Peter Laurence said he was thrilled to be able to “bring the lifeblood back to Airlie Crescent” after a long and difficult period for the accommodation houses and their guests. Whitsunday Transit owner, Darren Crossley, said he too was delighted that the street was open to buses once again.
“And I do believe that when the whole project’s finished we should have a fantastic bit of infrastructure for Airlie Beach,” he said.
Mr Kellaris said while the upgrade and closure of Airlie Crescent had been a bitter pill to swallow, there were two things he was thankful for. “I want to say that I’m pleased that the Council listened to the concept of putting in a lookout because it’s a terrific vantage point and secondly that common sense prevailed and we didn’t plant oversized trees to take away the views,” he said.
NEW BEGINNINGS: Whitsunday Transit bus driver Peter Laurence (left) and company owner Darren Crossley (right) with Waterview Airlie Beach co-owner Bill Kellaris, celebrating the return of buses to Airlie Crescent after almost one year of road closure for upgrade works. Pictured is Whitsunday Transit's brand new bus - the 40th for the fleet, which arrived in the Whitsundays from Brisbane on Tuesday afternoon.