Let­ters to the ed­i­tor

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

Growth at all costs

AS A tourism des­ti­na­tion, the Whit­sun­day re­gion is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing un­prece­dented growth. We are now tied with Cairns as the most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion on the Great Bar­rier Reef with nearly 850,000 visi­tors this year. That’s 45% of all reef vis­i­ta­tions across the en­tire Great Bar­rier Reef. Yet ge­o­graph­i­cally, we are only one-sixth the size of Cairns. That is a lot of peo­ple in small area.

Th­ese num­bers beg the ques­tion: How many visi­tors can this area sus­tain? Is there a thresh­old re­gard­ing qual­ity of vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence? Have we reached that thresh­old? What is the en­vi­ron­men­tal car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity of the re­gion? Have we ex­ceeded it?

Th­ese are ex­tremely im­por­tant ques­tions that need an­swers. Many lo­cal tourism op­er­a­tors feel we have al­ready reached our lim­its. Many of our more pop­u­lar is­land sites are so crowded now that boats can’t find room to an­chor. With so many an­chors, fins and fish­ing, our reefs are los­ing their lus­tre as well as their sus­tain­abil­ity. And to top it off, our lo­cal coun­cil is propos­ing an ex­panded air­port and 12 storey ac­com­mo­da­tion blocks to bring in even more peo­ple.

We live in a fi­nite world with fi­nite re­sources. To sug­gest that the Whit­sun­days must con­tinue to grow and grow and grow in or­der to sur­vive is a fool’s game. We must learn to live within lim­its. Lim­its that, in my opin­ion, we have reached. Tony Fontes Air­lie Beach

Death trap

AS A res­i­dent of Val­ley Drive, I am writ­ing to voice my con­cerns in re­la­tion to the in­ter­sec­tion turn­ing right from Shute Har­bour Rd into Val­ley Dr.

How is it that you have a turn­ing ar­row to go the Reef Gate­way Ho­tel yet there is noth­ing ad­vis­ing you that you can turn right into a busy res­i­den­tial street.

As a fa­ther of a young fam­ily and like many oth­ers, there have been too many close calls not to men­tion the ac­ci­dents that have al­ready occurred this year.

There is at least one a month, with near misses on a daily ba­sis.

Will it take the death of a child or adult be­fore this prob­lem is taken se­ri­ously.

Are they look­ing at putting a round­about there at some stage and if so when?

Why aren't there any ar­rows painted on the road or some­thing to alert driv­ers in the in­terim un­til some­thing is done?

This is a long over­due prob­lem that needs to ad­dressed sooner rather later. Phil Chap­man Can­non­vale

Get in­volved

THE Queens­land Par­lia­ment has passed the Sus­tain­able Ports De­vel­op­ment Act that bans in­dus­trial dredge spoil dump­ing in the Great Bar­rier Reef World Her­itage Area.

We con­grat­u­late the gov­ern­ment on pass­ing this leg­is­la­tion that will save 46 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres of dredge spoil from en­ter­ing the reef’s wa­ters.

Ear­lier this year, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment im­ple­mented a ban in the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park, and now the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment has ex­tended the ban to the rest of the World Her­itage Area, where 80% of the dump­ing was hap­pen­ing.

Th­ese laws only cover cap­i­tal dredge spoil – that is, spoil from new projects. All main­te­nance dredge spoil from mari­nas and ports up and down the coast is still al­lowed to be dumped di­rectly into the sea, smothering co­ral and mud­dy­ing the wa­ter.

We still have a lot of work to do to achieve even bet­ter laws to ban all dump­ing of dredge spoil into the ocean and we will con­tinue to work to­wards bet­ter pro­tec­tion for our mag­nif­i­cent and iconic won­der of the world. If you share this pas­sion please email whit­sun­dayrad@gmail.com to get in­volved. San­dra Wil­liams Air­lie Beach

Ob­ser­va­tions

FOR the record, I’m a long-term vis­i­tor to Air­lie Beach and a ratepayer.

The most re­cent eight-day visit that fin­ished was my 38th over the last 15 years – and we pay coun­cil rates on seven prop­er­ties. Here are my ob­ser­va­tions: The cur­rent coun­cil “ad­min­is­tra­tion” is on the wrong track – they seem to lack ba­sic com­mon sense and are chas­ing a num­ber of big dreams in­stead of at­tend­ing to the ba­sics.

Let me ex­plain. For a num­ber of years coun­cil “rab­bited on” about up­grad­ing Air­lie Beach’s main street, how­ever af­ter all that time, when it came down to the ac­tual do­ing, they didn’t use sim­ple com­mon sense when it came to se­lect­ing the ac­tual pave­ment ma­te­ri­als and colours to be used.

They didn’t use com­mon sense when it came to di­vert­ing all heavy ve­hi­cles away from the CBD; they didn’t use com­mon sense in re­la­tion to the by-pass (Water­son Way); they didn’t use com­mon sense when they moved the taxi rank; and again, they haven’t used com­mon sense re­gard­ing land­scap­ing at the en­try point to Air­lie.

In fact the “en­try state­ment” is an ab­so­lute dis­grace: lawns are not main­tained to a high stan­dard, weeds are al­lowed to take over, the wel­come sign has let­ters miss­ing, the starfish and land­scap­ing in the roun- dabout needs no fur­ther dis­cus­sion, the lawn on the four verges sur­round­ing the round­about con­sist of ar­ti­fi­cial, main­tained couch, weed and a mess.

The re­tain­ing wall fac­ing the round­about could be so much more, how­ever coun­cil has cho­sen to let it be­come an eye­sore.

What is wrong with this coun­cil ad­min­is­tra­tion?

Sadly, and much to the dis­may of the thou­sands of visi­tors who came to Air­lie for the Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, coun­cil doesn’t use any com­mon sense when it comes to gen­eral main­te­nance and clean­ing of the Air­lie CBD ei­ther. Maybe they think it’s not their re­spon­si­bil­ity?

The foot­path along the CBD area of Shute Har­bour Rd is filthy – and has been for some time. It seems coun­cil expects the busi­nesses who line the street to clean their own patch of foot­path. Some do, plenty don’t. As a re­sult it’s a patch­work at best.

But the prob­lem is this: some busi­ness own­ers sweep, some even hose - but most do noth­ing.

How­ever if this coun­cil re­spected the value Air­lie Beach brings to the re­gion, they would have a sched­uled main­te­nance pro­gram for the CBD precinct.

A main­te­nance pro­gram that in­cluded pres­sure clean­ing the en­tire foot­path area at least weekly – com­menc­ing at 3am and al­ways com­pleted by 6am.

There are so many sug­ges­tions and crit­i­cisms that I could go on for ages; suf­fice to say that this coun­cil ap­pears to pay no at­ten­tion to de­tail.

Rather they’re look­ing for “grand­stand­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties” at ev­ery turn.

Look­ing af­ter “the hand that feeds you” might be a bet­ter op­tion Mayor Whit­ney. Kevin Lee Sydney

Cli­mate march

I WOULD like to ex­tend a wel­come to ev­ery­one to at­tend The Peo­ple’s Cli­mate March in Air­lie Beach this Satur­day, Novem­ber 28.

The Peo­ple’s Cli­mate March is a world­wide event to draw at­ten­tion to the peo­ple’s con­cern over our chang­ing cli­mate con­di­tions. The march is timed in con­junc­tion with the United Na­tions Cli­mate Sum­mit, where lead­ers from around the globe will gather to dis­cuss our chang­ing cli­mate.

Come along and join mil­lions of peo­ple from around the world as we march for a tran­si­tion to­wards re­new­able en­ergy, a healthy en­vi­ron­ment and safe cli­mate for all.

Meet at the Air­lie Beach Sail­ing Club carpark at 12.30pm. Eileen Davis Su­gar­loaf

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