Airlie plan needs more thought
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