Air­lie plan needs more thought

Whitsunday Times - - YOUR SAY -

IF EVER there was a blue­print with the po­ten­tial to ruin a tourist des­ti­na­tion it is ev­i­dent for all to see in Air­lie Beach at the present time.

This is not to de­nounce the con­cept of re­vi­tal­is­ing the Air­lie fore­shore, far from it, but it is a con­dem­na­tion of the ex­e­cu­tion of that plan.

Firstly, one has to be con­cerned that al­most the en­tire fore­shore has been closed off to all ac­cess, lo­cals and visi­tors alike. Surely with a mod­icum of fore­thought plans could have been en­acted to fence off in sec­tions; have the work car­ried out in the seg­re­ga­tion, then on com­ple­tion re­open it to the pub­lic be­fore tack­ling the next sec­tion? If pro­gres­sively staged works were not an con­sid­ered op­tion then surely a few ac­cess lanes fil­ing through the bar­ri­caded ar­eas would have al­lowed walk­ing ac­cess to the fore­shore grassed ar­eas and beaches.

Se­condly is the tim­ing. Any­one con­sid­er­ing ma­jor works would de­lib­er­ately seek ac­cess to an events cal­en­dar. This would iden­tify times when ma­jor us­age of the fore­shore was at a premium and it would flag the lesser utilised pe­ri­ods. One would ar­gue that the im­mi­nent 74 bands Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, Schoolies Week, Christ­mas Day, New Year’s Day as well as the Aus­tralian long school sum­mer hol­i­days over the fes­tive sea­son would take some beat­ing as pri­or­i­ties in the minds of tourist op­er­a­tors. To re­duce ac­ces­si­ble fore­shore at this time to a frac­tion of its usual avail­abil­ity seems in­ad­e­quate afore­thought.

In ad­di­tion, it would be re­miss not to men­tion that that same fes­tive sea­son, even Oc­to­ber to March, is no­to­ri­ous for its in­clement weather events. Me­tres of liq­uid sun­shine and cy­clonic del­uges are the norm. Th­ese

of­ten trans­late into forced con­struc­tion de­lays or worse. It is ob­vi­ously too late to to­tally resched­ule the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of the fore­shore and prob­a­bly im­prac­ti­ca­ble to re­verse any­thing that has been com­pleted to date. How­ever, with­out doubt, it is not too late to al­low com­mon sense to pre­vail.

First, as a mat­ter of some ur­gency, the bar­ri­ers re­ally must be re­lo­cated or re­ar­ranged with per­ceiv­able log­i­cal place­ments. Sec­tioned off work ar­eas for in­di­vid­ual com­ple­tion could be a step in the right di­rec­tion. Th­ese would have the added ad­van­tage of cop­ing with any de­lays that

may be en­forced with the cy­clonic del­uges that are the norm at this time of the year. Sec­ond, ac­cess to the views and beaches via screened tun­nels through the ob­struc­tive bar­ri­cades is es­sen­tial. In other words, the afore­men­tioned detri­men­tal blue­print can be re­ar­ranged.

All it will take is good will. It is the least that can be done for Air­lie traders, the beach lo­cals and the highly in­dis­pens­able and lu­cra­tive tourist in­dus­try.

— Pam Tin­dall, Air­lie Beach

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