GROUND ZERO

Cen­tre de­mo­li­tion a first step to new be­gin­nings

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

CHARRED, twisted chunks of me­tal and an ever-grow­ing pile of rub­ble are all that re­main of the nine busi­ness premises burnt down in the Whit­sun­day Shop­ping Cen­tre fire.

But while the de­mo­li­tion site is a stark and con­stant re­minder of the dev­as­tat­ing in­ci­dent it also rep­re­sents an im­por­tant first step on the road to re­cov­ery for the com­mu­nity. In this week’s Whit­sun­day

Times we bring you all the lat­est pho­tos and news on:

Progress at the site

Busi­nesses open for trade

The peo­ple most af­fected by the fire and how you can con­tinue to help.

Plus re­newed calls for a 24/7 fire ser­vice for the Whit­sun­days.

“We’ve had build­ing con­sul­tants and con­trac­tors start­ing to look at what op­por­tu­ni­ties there are on the site.” – Ja­son Bar­rett

IT HAS been less than two weeks since fire tore through the Whit­sun­day Shop­ping Cen­tre, but al­ready re­cov­ery works are pro­gress­ing.

Most busi­nesses in the cen­tre re­sumed trad­ing on Satur­day, while the two busi- nesses clos­est to the blaze – The Re­ject Shop and Buck’s Seafood – opened on Mon­day.

With many res­i­dents near the site be­ing forced to de­tour through Jones Rd, Knight Frank re­gional man­ager Ja­son Bar­rett said Is­land Dr would “re­open as soon as it is safe to do so” and had in fact par­tially opened at the time of go­ing to press.

The clo­sure has also ren­dered the Whit­sun­day Tran­sit bus ser­vice un­able to ac­cess its reg­u­lar stop at the shop­ping cen­tre. Cus­tomers are ad­vised to in­stead use nearby stops at Club Croc or Ste­wart Dr.

As for con­cerns about health risks for nearby res­i­dents, Mr Bar­rett said the ut­most care had been taken to

Photo: Sharon Small­wood

PIC­TURED: The re­mains

of a sec­tion of the Whit­sun­day Shop­ping Cen­tre that was de­stroyed by fire.

PROGRESS ON SITE: De­mo­li­tion of the gut­ted build­ing is well un­der way.

Pho­tos: Sharon Small­wood / Ka­rina Shim / Alan Ma­her. Aerial photo thanks to Heli­taxi.com

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