Heart site’s controversial past
A FAILED acquisition, a flood zone and public protests – the site of the new Heart Hotel has quite a story to tell. Owner Des Davey said it had been about a 20-year process since the start of the Airlie Beach Main Street upgrade.
“My son turned 23 last week. He’s on the front cover of the Airlie Beach streetscape program and he’s three years old,” he said.
The site was slated for purchase by the State Government in 2011 to allow the main street to bend.
When this proved too costly, a land swap was proposed that would see Mr Davey’s then supermarket move to the Airlie Beach Foreshore. Public protests by community groups such as Save Our Foreshore and the Whitsunday Ratepayers Association in late 2011 and early 2012 saw this idea scrapped, with Mr Davey receiving a letter from the State Government in May 2012 officially burying the proposal.
With the main street upgrade, with a straight road, wrapping up in September 2013, Mr Davey said this left his building below the flood line.
“When the street scape got changed and the road level came up we got left in a hole, a flood zone,” he said.
“We had no choice but to demolish and build something.”
SITE HISTORY: An article from January 2012 reports the proposed land swap will not go ahead.