Letters to the editor
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. Sandra Williams Airlie Beach
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
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