Lions Club has its own plans for market site

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Inge Hansen

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.

Photo Inge Hansen

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.

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