Lions Club has its own plans for market site
IT’S been an ongoing debate among locals and business owners but the passion behind the Airlie Beach Foreshore Revitalisation proposal is growing, especially for Alan Gravelle.
Chairman of the Whitsunday Lions Market Committee, Mr Gravelle is determined to keep the markets in their existing location and is in the process of forwarding a submission to Whitsunday Regional Council to do just that.
“(The markets) are the second biggest attraction behind the lagoon,” he said.
When council’s revitalisation project first came to light, Mr Gravelle said the Whitsunday Lions Club carried out an assessment of each potential market site suggested.
The club’s online and paper surveys highlighted high public demand for the current location to remain and in response, the club has proposed upgrades which are necessary to “green” and landscape the area.
The “big killer” however, is car parking.
“At the moment we have 400 car parks and they have to stay – not just for the customers but for Airlie Beach,” Mr Gravelle said.
Mr Gravelle believes a solution to maintaining adequate parking would be through the use of a ground mesh product enabling certain areas to be used as parkland, sporting or recreational precincts but also able to be opened up for controlled “overflow” and “event” parking when required.
“This is also the most cost effective solution for meeting the requirements to revitalise the foreshore, without losing any of the versatility and flexibility of this area,” he said.
“Our proposal covers every aspect and it’s way cheaper.”
Last Thursday Mr Gravelle and some of the market stall holders attended a meeting with the Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce (WCCC) and a council representative to discuss the chamber’s submission on a potential location, released to the public two weeks ago.
Chamber president Kevin Collins said the submission, which suggests moving the markets to their original spot at Fairy Tree Park, ignited discussion between stall holders and business owners.
“There was a good discussion about it and I think we might have opened some eyes to the possibilities,” he said.
But despite agreeing the location was visually appealing, Mr Gravelle said practically speaking, there was no way Fairy Tree Park could possibly work better than the market’s current position, which “fits the bill perfectly”.
“With the markets (where they are) at the moment you can fit between 100 and 110 stall holders every week but (at Fairy Tree Park) you cannot get 100-110 stall holders in and out with all their goods safely – it’s just not possible,” he said.
DISCUSSION: Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce president Kevin Collins, market stall holders Christina della Valle and Leola Adams, WCCC secretary Judy Porter and Whitsunday Lion Allan Gravelle at Fairy Tree Park where the WCCC is suggesting the Airlie Beach markets be relocated to.