LET US RE­MAIN

Mar­ket hold­ers unhappy

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THE voices of Air­lie Beach mar­ket stall hold­ers rose in uni­son to the tune of Amer­i­can folk song We Shall Not Be Moved at the week­end.

Com­ing to­gether to dis­cuss their op­po­si­tion to a shift away from the beach front, the newly formed Please Don’t Move The Mar- kets com­mit­tee has been asked to sub­mit an al­ter­nate de­sign to the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil.

By Rory Sheav­ils STALL hold­ers at the Lions Air­lie Beach Mar­kets aren’t im­pressed with the pro­posed loss of their beach­front lo­ca­tion, band­ing to­gether to fight back.

Formed in re­sponse to the fore­shore revi­til­i­sa­tion pro­posal, the Please Don’t Move The Mar­kets Com­mit­tee met at the week­end to dis­cuss its op­tions.

Stall holder and com­mit­tee mem­ber Kristel Tay­lor told the group they had met with Mayor An­drew Will­cox and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Matthew McGoldrick, sub­mit­ting an im­pact state­ment signed by 118 stall hold­ers.

The group was then asked to sub­mit an al­ter­nate plan.

“We’re go­ing to put in, as best we can, a draw­ing of all the stalls. We’re go­ing to hold our po­si­tion on the beach, we’re go­ing to draw what we be­lieve is a win-win so­lu­tion,” Ms Tay­lor said.

She said this in­cluded a num­ber of as­pects of the orig­i­nal plan, such as wider paths and bus stops.

Ms Tay­lor said the al­ter­nate plan would see some de- fi­nite changes how­ever.

“We don’t mind the park be­ing im­proved but we’re not happy about los­ing the car park­ing and we’re not happy about be­ing taken off the beach,” she said.

“We ba­si­cally pro­posed that, if you draw a line from the back gate (of the mar­ket area) pretty much straight across to the old bus shel­ter, every­thing (to the sail­ing club side) would re­main car park­ing.

“Every­thing (to the mar­ket side) would be grass and there­fore that would be the winwin.”

Ms Tay­lor said some car park­ing would still be lost un­der the al­ter­nate plan.

“But, be­cause there wouldn’t be that turn­around (area), you would gain some ex­tra spa­ces in a bet­ter de­signed car park,” she said.

Whit­sun­day Lions Club mem­ber Al­lan Grav­elle, who sits on the project steer­ing com­mit­tee, said he had spo­ken with town plan­ners from RPS, who re­ported around half of re­spon­dents to their com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion were against mov­ing the mar­kets.

The Lions are con­duct­ing their own con­sul­ta­tion ques­tion­naire how­ever, re­port­ing a vastly dif­fer­ent re­sult.

“And it’s not even close: It’s not 50-50, it’s hor­ren­dously against mov­ing the mar­kets,” he said.

“You would be lucky to see 1% of re­spon­dents ask for the mar­kets to be moved.”

Mr Grav­elle said “maybe 20–30%” of peo­ple thought park­ing was ad­e­quate “but that is the park­ing we have

now be­ing ad­e­quate, not what they’re propos­ing”.

With the mar­kets bring­ing in around “50,000 peo­ple a year”, Mr Grav­elle said it was mad­ness to move them.

“You can put to­gether ev­ery other event in Air­lie Beach and it doesn’t even get to a frac­tion of that,” he said.

The steer­ing com­mit­tee will meet again on July 4 to dis­cuss the re­sults of the con­sul­ta­tion process, which is due to end to­mor­row.

Save Our Fore­shore has thrown its sup­port be­hind the stall hold­ers, with pres­i­dent Suzette Pelt at­tend­ing the week­end meet­ing.

“Our in­ter­est is public land,” she told those as­sem­bled.

“We will back what the mar­kets want, what the stall hold­ers want.”

Ms Pelt sug­gested the gravel area, cur­rently zoned as green space, could be used as event and over­flow park­ing in the event it was to be­come park land.

No mat­ter what hap­pens, the mar­kets will move tem­po­rar­ily to make way for de­vel­op­ment works.

Ms Tay­lor said they were not pre­pared to move fur­ther away from town, giv­ing the ex­am­ple of the Whit­sun­day PCYC car park.

In­stead, the group has sug­gested mov­ing back to Fairy Tree Park, its orig­i­nal po­si­tion, or clos­ing the Es­planade be­tween the round­abouts on Satur­day morn­ings to host a street mar­ket.

This morn­ing the stall hold­ers will present a pe­ti­tion against the move to Deputy Mayor John Collins, with al­most 1000 sig­na­tures.

“We’re go­ing to put in as best we can a draw­ing of all the stalls, we’re go­ing to hold our po­si­tion on the beach, we’re go­ing to draw what we be­lieve is a winwin so­lu­tion.”

LET US STAY: Lions Air­lie Beach Mar­kets stall hold­ers, res­i­dents and com­mu­nity groups are pe­ti­tion­ing coun­cil to let them stay on the beach front. Photo: Rory Sheav­ils

TALKS: The Air­lie Beach mar­kets are con­sid­ered iconic and stall

hold­ers are fight­ing to maintain their beach­front lo­ca­tion. Photo: con­trib­uted.

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