Heart site’s con­tro­ver­sial past

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

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.

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