On the mend but rentals in ‘crisis’
RENTAL accommodation for some Whitsunday workers is a big problem after Cyclone Debbie.
That’s the opinion of local business owner Kevin Collins, who said it had reached “crisis” point.
Mr Collins asked Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox at a recent Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce breakfast about how the region could accommodate a huge influx of workers.
“There are still two major construction work crews to come to town,” he said.
“Already (we’re in) almost a crisis in available rental accommodation for hospitality staff.
“There were 400 properties on Airbnb. A week before the cyclone there was 400, now there’s around 270.
“The work crews are coming to work before the end of year... They will need somewhere to stay.”
Mr Collins said his hospitality staff had struggled to lock down permanent accommodation.
Cr Willcox said they had “earmarked” sites but it was a balancing act and they would be happy to talk to any incoming crews to work something out.
The mayor spoke at the breakfast to give an update on how the region was recovering post-Cyclone Debbie.
He said the council had been “hamstrung” over the insurance process and hoped to use any future funding to not only fix up Shute Harbour and the Airlie Beach foreshore but also for betterment opportunities.
“The environmental restoration that we need for our area is huge,” he said while speaking on the tasks of cleaning up green waste and erosion.
“We’ve also still got abandoned boats from Shute Harbour to Bowen.
“We still have issues and still have a lot of work to do.”
Business owners in particular wanted to know what was happening with the Airlie Beach lagoon.
Cr Willcox said they were hoping to complete repairs by the end of August.
The mayor also mentioned State and Federal government processes in accessing money, declaring: “Give us the money and we’ll do it.”
LOOKING FORWARD: Keith Forknall of Regional Insurance Brokers, Chamber of Commerce president Allan Milostic and Mayor Andrew Willcox.