CHALLENGE ON FOR DIVISION 1
Building heights prove a driving force
SHE’S been part of the Fight for Airlie movement and now she’s going to stand for Airlie – Michelle Lynes is contesting Division 1 in the upcoming Whitsunday Regional Council election of March 19.
With three businesses and a family, the 51-year-old mother and grandmother already had her hands full and previously had no interest in council “until I became heavily involved in the community fight for the town plan”.
“We’re on the water all the time (with our sailing outrigger tour business) and, when I look back to Airlie, I do not want to see the shoreline change dramatically from the current iconic village we have,” she said.
“Airlie Beach is a tourist destination; people leave the city life to get away from skyscrapers for a vacation. I want to make sure that there is a healthy balance between our iconic lifestyle and the future of our region concerning development, which is very important to the Whitsundays.”
Since attending Airlie’s first public meeting on building heights in September last year, Ms Lynes has been to every ordinary council meeting, often leaving quite concerned by the things she saw.
“It was the transparency of council that made me put my hand up (to stand),” she said.
“It’s quite hard for me to put my finger on when it was, but working with key people in the community who were concerned about the town plan and in turn finding out more information – that was my key turning point in deciding to run for the campaign.”
Ms Lynes describes herself as pro-development but questions whether increased building heights and the new proposed Chinatown enterprise will actually bring local jobs.
“I want to see local people working and the local economy moving ahead – we must ensure local jobs for local people,” she said.
“I am committed to creating a positive change for the local region and the most effective way I can achieve my goal is to listen and consult with the community.
“My slogan is actually, ‘a fresh start’ and that’s what I bring.”
Other issues Ms Lynes believes affect the division encompassing Airlie Beach include parking and pedestrian access to the main street and CBD.
“People have spent a lot of money to come here – why should they be giving way to traffic?” she asked.
And with a garden maintenance business as one of her interests, the condition of some of our public spaces leaves a lot to be desired.
As for how she would work with current mayor Jennifer Whitney, if the two were voted in: “if she can present all the information that’s been requested in the past and be transparent, then I can work with her,” she said.
“I just want to get in there and start work for the whole of the division – for Shute Harbour and for Hamilton Island as well.”
STANDING TALL: Michelle Lynes is running for Division 1.