MAR­KETS TO STAY

Coun­cil an­nounces mar­kets to re­main at Air­lie Beach fore­shore

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Inge Hansen inge.hansen@whit­sun­day­times.com.au

“BA­SI­CALLY a re­lief and a feel­ing that com­mon sense had pre­vailed” – this is how Al­lan Grav­elle felt when he heard Whitsunday Re­gional Coun­cil had de­cided the Air­lie Beach fore­shore mar­kets would stay put.

The an­nounce­ment comes af­ter con­tro­ver­sial talks in 2016 which sug­gested the mar­kets be moved.

Chair­per­son of the Whitsunday Lions Club, Mr Grav­elle has been a prom­i­nent voice in the fight to keep the mar­kets in their cur­rent lo­ca­tion.

“I have to com­mend the coun­cil be­cause the coun­cil­lors and the mayor lis­tened to us and it was great to go and speak to them and ex­plain to them what was go­ing on and have them un­der­stand that there’s no greater use of com­mu­nity land, which the fore­shore is, than see­ing the com­mu­nity turn out in their thousands to use it,” he said.

To Suzette Pelt, pres­i­dent of Save Our Fore­shore, the ini­tial idea to have the mar­kets shifted was “stupid”.

“Our in­ter­est is pub­lic land and our pub­lic fore­shores and our first role was to sup­port the com­mu­nity mar­kets peo­ple be­cause no­body knows the mar­kets like they do and this plan came out of nowhere,” she said.

En­gage­ment and mar­ket­ing co-or­di­na­tor of Whitsunday Re­gional Coun­cil, Joanne Hen­nessey, said the over­all re­sponse to the news was very pos­i­tive.

“I think we’ve def­i­nitely met the com­mu­nity’s ex­pec­ta­tion,” she said.

On Satur­day, WRC set up a mar­ket stall to en­cour­age feed­back from the last pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on the Air­lie Beach Fore­shore Re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion project.

Ms Hen­nessey said now coun­cil had de­cided to keep the mar­kets in place, the next step was plan­ning for a mas­ter plan for the area from the Sail­ing Club through to the la­goon.

“The rea­son for this is to make sure any up­grades or im­prove­ments we do in this area are re­flected across the whole fore­shore,” she said.

“For the mar­kets, we’ve com­mit­ted to keep their lo­ca­tion here so the im­prove­ments will be to things like the state of the ground, the cover (a lot of it has worn away); maybe re­ju­ve­nate the green spa­ces, im­prov­ing fa­cil­i­ties like elec­tric­ity, wa­ter ac­cess, lights.”

Ms Hen­nessey said in com­ing months, coun­cil would look at road and park­ing up­grades ex­pected to be com­pleted by mid-July 2017.

“We’ve got the fund­ing in the bud­get to do that.”

PHOTO: INGE HANSEN

STAY­ING PUT: Whitsunday Lions Club chair­man Alan Grav­elle and Save Our Fore­shore pres­i­dent Suzette Pelt are thrilled to see the Air­lie Beach mar­kets stay put.

PHOTO: INGE HANSEN

WEL­COME: Michelle Feenan, of En­gage­ment Plus, Whitsunday Re­gional Coun­cil en­gage­ment and mar­ket­ing co-or­di­na­tor Joanne Hen­nessey and Liana Modolo, of En­gage­ment Plus, at the coun­cil stall at the Air­lie Beach mar­kets on Satur­day.

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