Fresh look for Air­lie

The jig­saw puz­zle is com­plete

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Ja­cob Wil­son ja­cob.wil­son@whit­sun­day­

MANY years ago one of the first things tourists driv­ing into the Main Street of Air­lie Beach would have seen were bun­dles of sand bags.

To­day, a pic­turesque view in­clud­ing the now com­plete starfish round­about and the Heart of the Reef dis­play makes a pow­er­ful im­pres­sion on tourists and lo­cals alike.

The Starfish round­about was com­pleted last Fri­day by Creative Til­ing, led by Martin and Re­becca Ross, with the as­sis­tance of Daniel Bre­mar, Ta­mari Allen, Con­rad Werner, Sheila Cars and George Me­hary.

Martin Ross said the Starfish de­sign was 130 square me­tres and con­sisted of around 60,000 tiles.

“It was a mas­sive job for all the peo­ple con­cerned. It just turned out to be a mas­sive jig­saw puz­zle,” he said. “I al­ways wanted to leave some­thing here.”

Air­lie Beach Coun­cil­lor Jan Clif­ford re­flected on how far the town had come over the years and said she was “blown away” by the com­ple­tion of the round­about.

“I think it’s a stun­ning en­trance state­ment to the town within the con­straints we had to deal with from the De­part­ment of Main Roads and Trans­port,” she said.

Cr Clif­ford re­as­sured res­i­dents com­plain­ing about money be­ing spent on the starfish round­about amid the Air­lie la­goon clo­sure and said it wasn’t even a “drop in the bucket” com­pared to the ex­tent of work re­quired for

❝a I think it’s stun­ning en­trance state­ment to the town.

— Jan Clif­ford

the la­goon. “The orig­i­nal bud­get for this was $80,000 and this came in at about half or less than what was orig­i­nally bud­geted,” she said. “Any­one who sug­gests we should have pulled the con­tract from lo­cal busi­nesses ... well that isn’t how we op­er­ate.”

Jac­que­line Quadrio from Ev­ery­thing Mo­saic was re­spon­si­ble for the orig­i­nal starfish de­sign.

COM­PLETE: Martin Ross and Air­lie Beach Coun­cil­lor Jan Clif­ford.

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