Bat­tered and bruised tourist icon needs some TLC

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

PARKS and wildlife work crews have started the task of restor­ing one of Queens­land’s tourism icons fol­low­ing the fu­ri­ous dev­as­ta­tion of Cy­clone Deb­bie.

White­haven Beach on Whit­sun­day Is­land was in the eye of the storm last week with veg­e­ta­tion along the spec­tac­u­lar stretch of sand ripped to shreds.

The iconic beach is a reg­u­lar en­try in lists of the world’s best beaches and draws thou­sands of tourists each year, but it, like much of the re­gion, copped the full brunt of the cy­clone.

Piles of up­rooted trees now line the shore­line, while much of the bril­liant white sand has also been lost.

Re­pair crews have now ar­rived on the is­land to start the task of restor­ing the beach to its pris­tine glory, but it is feared that it will take years for the ev­i­dence of the cy­clone to dis­ap­pear.

Queens­land En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Steven Miles said it was im­por­tant to re­turn the beach to its spec­tac­u­lar self.

“It is often cited as the best beach in Aus­tralia and one of the top 20 beaches in the world ... so it’s vi­tally im­por­tant we get it cleaned up as a pri­or­ity,” Dr Miles said.

“(But) our ex­pe­ri­ence is that na­ture and nat­u­ral ecosys­tems are re­silient and can bounce back from en­vi­ron­men­tal dis­tur­bances.”

PHOTO: QUEENS­LAND GOV­ERN­MENT

WINDSWEPT: The first pho­tos of the iconic White­haven Beach since the bat­ter­ing from Cy­clone Deb­bie.

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