A BIG4 ef­fort for Easter

Pow­ered sites back on line at park

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Sharon Small­wood sharon.small­wood@whit­sun­day times.com.au

THE Whit­sun­days no longer has a short­age of ac­com­mo­da­tion for campers due to Cy­clone Deb­bie – and all thanks to the hard work of the McKin­non fam­ily and staff at BIG4 Ad­ven­ture Whit­sun­day re­sort.

Owner Greg McKin­non said he had been able to open some of the pow­ered sites on Mon­day and was work­ing to­wards open­ing more.

“Ab­so­lutely; we are open to­day and it starts to show we can come back from huge dev­as­ta­tion,” he said.

“The town needs every bit of money we can get in and (we can) thank our lucky stars that we didn’t get ab­so­lutely creamed – but at end of day we are here to make the merry-go-round keep go­ing.

“My 34 staff de­pend on this busi­ness and there are other busi­nesses de­pend­ing on us to keep go­ing.

“We all need each other.” Mr McKin­non said power was re­stored to the pop­u­lar BIG4 on Sun­day and they had been able to at­tend to any safety is­sues.

He said the place wasn’t fully open and they hadn’t been ac­cept­ing book­ings un­til April 18, “but when peo­ple don’t have any­where to stay we aren’t too con­cerned about our­selves – (we just ) wanted to make sure we could cater for the odd tourist and help the town re­cover,” he said.

With 30 peo­ple now stay­ing at the fa­cil­ity as of this week, Mr McKin­non said they had dropped the price to ac­com­mo­date them.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s Easter hol­i­days at the mo­ment, but we’re not too con­cerned,” he said.

“It won’t be Easter like it nor­mally is, Easter rates went out the door so we are of­fer­ing off-peak prices to get peo­ple in and get town to­gether.

“The strength of our lit­tle town – you can feel ev­ery­one get­ting ex­tremely tired, but when you see our tours come back on line and our food back on shelves – and we only got power yes­ter­day... “we will come back big­ger and brighter and this has brought the com­mu­nity closer.”

Mr McKin­non said be­tween 200 and 300 truck­loads of veg­e­ta­tion had been re­moved from the site, and de­scribed it as “mas­sive”.

“We’ve got 30% of veg­e­ta­tion all gone but it was our staff who re­ally gave an enor­mous ef­fort to get us up to the point where we can of­fer these sites,” he said.

“With­out them and Air­lie earth­works, we wouldn’t have got­ten near open­ing.”

And on the bright side, Mr McKin­non said with­out as much veg­e­ta­tion “we will have a lot more sun in our sites”.

“The pool is up and run­ning, they are all sit­ting around there at the mo­ment, so that’s a huge plus, and the in­ter­net which is up and run­ning,” Mr McKin­non said.

“We haven’t got our ac­tiv­ity pro­gram up yet, that will be the 18th and that’s our sig­nal we are 100% back to where we were.”

PHOTO: KATHRYN CYGAN

OPEN FOR EASTER: BIG4 Ad­ven­ture Whit­sun­day Re­sort co-owner Greg McKin­non wel­comed tourists to take up one of their pow­ered sites now avail­able.

PHOTO: JA­COB WIL­SON

TEM­PO­RARY BASE: Shane Hosk­ing and El­ly­ott Allan set up camp while ac­com­mo­da­tion was lim­ited.

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