Blank can­vas for ‘heart’ of our town

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

IT WAS a part of the Air­lie Beach main street upgrade that never seemed quite com­plete, but be­hind the scenes there have al­ways been grand plans for the wall by the starfish round­about in Air­lie Beach.

Whit­sun­day mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney said two bud­gets ago, the coun­cil al­lo­cated $100,000 for each of the re­gion’s town­ships, to be spent on cre­at­ing en­try state­ments iden­ti­fy­ing the com­mu­ni­ties.

In Air­lie Beach, the Whit­sun­day chap­ter of in­ter­na­tional tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion SKAL had been work­ing hard on pro­mot­ing the town as the “heart of the reef”.

SKAL pres­i­dent Carolyn Up­ton said hav­ing al­ready branded bill­boards, bot­tled wa­ter, wine and retail mer­chan­dise, the wall below Air­lie Cres­cent was “just re­in­forc­ing all of that but on a much big­ger can­vas than we’ve done be­fore”.

While a wa­ter fea­ture was ini­tially part of the plan, $100k wouldn’t be enough, so Ms Up­ton said SKAL had re­solved to move for­ward with the pro­ject in three stages.

“And we can de­liver part one,” she said, adding it would be pre­dom­i­nantly land­scap­ing, with hang­ing vines to “green” the wall on ei­ther side and the cen­tre-piece to repli­cate colour­ful co­ral bom­mies and of course in­cor­po­rate the “heart” of the reef.

Ms Up­ton said SKAL had signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Coun­cil at the end of 2015 and hoped to de­liver stage one in nine months. Cr Whit­ney said no doubt the end re­sult would be “mag­nif­i­cent and be­fit­ting to the area” and Divi­sion 1 coun­cil­lor Jan Clifford said she felt it would be em­braced by all.

GRAND PLANS: SKAL Whit­sun­day pres­i­dent Carolyn Up­ton and vice-pres­i­dent Kim Cross­ley, with Whit­sun­day Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney and Divi­sion 1 Coun­cil­lor Jan Clifford, in front of what will be­come an en­try state­ment for Air­lie Beach.

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