Hands off

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

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 air­liefor­e­shore@rps­group.com.au Christina della Valle Pre­ston

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