PE­TI­TION AGAINST HEIGHTS

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Ja­cob Wil­son ja­cob.wil­son@whit­sun­day­times.com.au

THE Airlie Beach town plan has been sent to the State Gov­ern­ment for fi­nal ap­proval, but a group of res­i­dents is fight­ing to stop it in its tracks.

A group of con­cerned res­i­dents cir­cu­lated an on­line pe­ti­tion in Jan­uary, protest­ing against in­creased build­ing heights in Airlie Beach.

The group aims to col­lect 1000 sig­na­tures and has re­ceived more than 480 re­sponses to date.

Portside Whit­sun­day owner Colleen Dodds said she and oth­ers sup­ported the pe­ti­tion so peo­ple would realise what was at stake.

“What was fought against last year with marches of hun­dreds of peo­ple has ac­tu­ally hap­pened and gone through, only this one is worse,” she said.

If the town plan goes ahead 12-me­tre build­ing heights could be ap­proved.

This wor­ries the group, par­tic­u­larly re­gard­ing the zone around Broad­wa­ter Av­enue and a pro­posed devel­op­ment site near the Port of Airlie.

Ms Dodds stressed she was pro-devel­op­ment as long as it was low-rise devel­op­ment.

“Peo­ple come here be­cause of the vil­lage at­mos­phere,” she said.

“Peo­ple from Sydney, Mel­bourne and over­seas say if there were high­rises in Airlie Beach, they would go to Bris­bane be­cause it will be the same and saves them an airfare.”

Tourism Whit­sun­days CEO Craig Turner said a bal­ance could be struck be­tween de­vel­op­ing an in­ter­na­tion­ally branded pre­mium ho­tel and main­tain­ing tourism ap­peal.

“The re­al­ity is we have an ex­tra 130,000 seats ar­riv­ing into the re­gion this March and April and what I would say is at some point there will be pres­sure on sup­ply and de­mand,” he said.

Whit­sun­day Mayor An­drew Wil­cox said the plan was ac­cept­able to most.

“In terms of con­sul­ta­tion, by and large most peo­ple are happy with it,” he said.

If the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment ap­proves the plan, it will be im­ple­mented in mid-2017.

Ms Dodds called on peo­ple to sign the pe­ti­tion on change.org.

PHOTO: JA­COB WIL­SON

WOR­RIED: Nigel Pem­ber­ton, Jo Matthews, Colleen Dodds, Su­san Wat­son and Brent Jones want Airlie to re­tain its low-rise vil­lage at­mos­phere.

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