Build­ing heights prove a driv­ing force

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

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.

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