From the ed­i­tor's desk

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY NEWS AND VIEWS -

2013 is com­ing to an end and it has cer­tainly been an in­ter­est­ing year for the Whit­sun­days.

The fi­nan­cial woes of the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil have cer­tainly dom­i­nated the news and that sit­u­a­tion hasn’t gone away just yet.

One of the main changes for ratepay­ers was the de­ci­sion to in­tro­duce a tar­iff sys­tem for the charg­ing of wa­ter.

Ratepay­ers should have more of an idea of that cost when they re­ceive their wa­ter rates notices which are ex­pected to be sent in Jan­uary.

In other news this year, Proser­pine State High School cel­e­brated its 50th an­niver­sary in June with hun­dreds of peo­ple re­turn­ing to the area for the cel­e­bra­tions. The Air­lie main street up­grade was fi­nally fin­ished in Septem­ber af­ter more than 12 months of con­struc­tion.

In Oc­to­ber, Hamil­ton Is­land own­ers Bob and Sandy Oat­ley of­fi­cially chal­lenged for the next Amer­ica’s Cup.

In Novem­ber, the in­au­gral Air­lie Beach Mu­sic Fes­ti­val was en­joyed by thou­sands of peo­ple in­clud­ing many visi­tors to the area.

The other big news in Novem­ber was the an­nounce­ment that Tiger Air­ways will be in­tro­duc­ing di­rect flights be­tween Syd­ney and Proser­pine from April next year.

This will be the first time there has been di­rect flights since 2008 when both Jet­star and Vir­gin stopped those routes.

The big news ear­lier this month was that En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Greg Hunt gave the green light to the ex­pan­sion of Ab­bott Point north of Bowen.

This was met with mixed re­ac­tion as many lo­cal tourism op­er­a­tors are very con­cerned about the dam­age to the Great Bar­rier Reef from dredg­ing.

With Christ­mas less than a week away, it is pleas­ing to re­port that lo­cal tourism op­er­a­tors are ex­pect­ing a busy hol­i­day sea­son. This is the fi­nal edi­tion of the Whit­sun

day Times for the year. There will be no pa­per next week as it is Box­ing Day but pub­lish­ing will re­sume as nor­mal on Jan­uary 2. Merry Christ­mas and a Happy New Year to all read­ers, ad­ver­tis­ers and con­trib­u­tors and we look for­ward to work­ing with you all again in 2014.

Leanne Aber­nethy

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