Where do you stand?

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

IT IS cer­tainly up­set­ting to watch the ma­noeu­vrings of the mayor and a mi­nor­ity on the coun­cil to ig­nore the com­mu­nity's ob­jec­tions to in­creased build­ing heights and the many ques­tions about the fi­nan­cial ar­range­ments around Mr Wang's Chi­na­town pro­posal.

The un­re­lent­ing pro­mo­tion of th­ese changes should not go un­chal­lenged and we urge the com­mu­nity to de­mand that any­one run­ning for of­fice must spell out their stand on th­ese is­sues.

Most of the vested in­ter­ests in­volved in th­ese dam­ag­ing ideas at­tack any­one against them as be­ing "anti-jobs" or against de­vel­op­ment, when noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

High-rises will de­stroy Air­lie's unique desti­na­tion at­trac­tion for­ever and break many ex­ist­ing busi­ness with the re­sul­tant over-sup­ply of cheap ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The Chi­na­town pro­posal will be in di­rect com­pe­ti­tion with the main street, which is al­ready ex­pe­ri­enc­ing at least 20% va­can­cies, and it will in­tro­duce a type of mass tourism that will not ben­e­fit the spe­cial am­biance and at­trac­tion of Air­lie to peo­ple from all over the world, in­clud­ing do­mes­tic tourists.

And the ratepay­ers could be los­ing mil­lions of dol­lars if the coun­cil ac­cepts a low price for the Water­son Way prop­erty, even with­out the sus­pect at­tempt to in­crease the build­ing heights.

The com­mu­nity has made its ob­jec­tions well known, with close to 1000 ob­jec­tions be­ing sub­mit­ted to the plan­ning depart­ment in less than two weeks af­ter the sham pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

Do not be fooled by un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims of jobs or oc­cu­pan­cies by the pro­po­nents of th­ese changes.

We must have pub­lic fo­rums where the com­mu­nity can hear and ques­tion the var­i­ous can­di­dates, and they must not be al­lowed to hide be­hind slo­gans that mean noth­ing in re­al­ity. Jonathan Peter Air­lie Beach

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