THE Airlie Beach Community Markets, run by Lions, has been run successfully for many, many years. Lions is doing a great job, generating thousands of dollars for charity and the local community.
The foreshore markets are loved by locals, tourists and cruise boat visitors alike and are well known all over Australia as a beautiful colourful market on the beach.
The 140 odd stalls range from local produce, food and coffee to artisan craft, local artists, clothes, gifts, massage, hair dressers, you name it.
We even have our own sand sculpture artist, known all over Australia.
This last Saturday, with locals and cruise ship visitors walking through the markets, it was packed to the hilt.
But there is a black cloud hanging over the existing markets in its present location: there are plans by the Whitsunday Regional Council to move our foreshore markets “to the dustbowl” (quote from a councillor) – the unofficial parking area between Ocean Road and Coconut Grove adjacent to the sailing club car park.
The RPS group has been working on the project since February (before the election!!), but it was sprung on the community by media release only 10 days ago.
The plan is to build a ‘purpose built market’ with fixed spaces 3x3 metres.
As a consequence most produce and farm stalls would be banned as they sell off trailers and trucks.
This Saturday at the markets we were told by the RPS engineer that “the concept was decided and would go ahead”.
Whoever didn’t agree could get out. Councillor Jan Clifford confirmed that “it was a done deal”.
Lions who is opposed to the move of the market, knowing that it would eventually kill it, was told in no uncertain terms: “you are either with us or you are out!” I call that intimidation!
Consultation means “the act of consulting = go for advice or information, before a decision is made”.
But in our shire it seems an empty notion to go through, because the community expects it.
Council plans to steamroll the community and one of the highest earning Lions Clubs in the world; they treat us with contempt and have no intention to listen to their constituents who elected them.
I thought we were living in Australia and not in some banana republic or North Korea.
The councillors should be here for us, not the other way round.
I urge all residents of the Whitsundays to individually object to the project.
Please make yourself heard, otherwise we’ll have four years of the same.
Write a letter (you can use this one!) and address it to: PO Box 943 Airlie Beach, QLD, 4802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Christina della Valle Preston