Coun­cil floats Shute Har­bour so­lu­tion to park­ing prob­lem

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

FER­RIES to the Whit­sun­day is­lands could once again launch from Shute Har­bour.

In the con­fi­den­tial sec­tion of last week’s meet­ing, Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil passed a res­o­lu­tion to al­low Cruise Whit­sun­days to op­er­ate fer­ries from the fa­cil­ity for six months.

There will also be free park­ing of­fered to those us­ing the fa­cil­ity, which will have one pon­toon op­er­a­tional for fer­ries.

Ac­cord­ing to Divi­sion One coun­cil­lor Jan Clif­ford, there was still work to be done be­fore this could pro­ceed.

“There is clean up to be done and we have to check with MSQ the chan­nels are to­tally clear,” Cr Clif­ford said.

“We have got one pon­toon that will be put into place and then there has to be a safe ramp down there,” she added.

Cr Clif­ford said while there wasn’t a set time-frame she ex­pected it to go ahead “fairly soon”.

Whit­sun­day mayor An­drew Willcox said the idea was floated as a means of re­duc­ing the cur­rent im­pacts on Port of Air­lie.

“We are try­ing to work with the is­lands to get an­other ferry point to take some of the pres­sure off the Port of Air­lie car park sit­u­a­tion,” he said.

“So we are work­ing out a way to get the tradies out of Shute Har­bour so we can free up the Port of Air­lie for the tourists.

Cr Clif­ford said recre­ational boat­ies wait­ing to use the Shute Har­bour boat ramp would need to wait a bit longer.

“It’s all a work in progress and there are heaps of things to do to make it safe to use,” she said.

“The last thing I want is for (some­one) to launch a boat and hit a rock, we need things as safe as we can.”

In the mean­time, Cr Clif­ford rec­om­mends peo­ple make use of the Port of Air­lie and Whis­per Bay Boat ramps.

Coun­cil are also seek­ing up­grades to the Shute Har­bour fa­cil­ity via Cat­e­gory B and D fund­ing, as it would fall un­der the um­brella of a be­ing a project pro­vid­ing an eco­nomic ben­e­fit to the re­gion.

Cat­e­gory D fund­ing is yet to be ap­proved at a fed­eral level.

Cruise Whit­sun­days was con­tacted but is un­able to make a com­ment at this stage.

PHOTO: LIAM KIDSTON

CHANGES: Maika McDon­ald, Lau­ren Squires, Karen Gor­don, and Katelin Gor­don at Shute Har­bour.

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