protest sparks outrage, by John Andersen - 4th Febraury
(Media assistance and support by Greg Tingle - Media
There's trouble in paradise over
a plan by the Whitsunday Shire Council to give
the green light to a development proposal on the
Airlie Beach foreshore.
of the plan -- fighting under the banner of Save
Our Foreshore -- say council is backing a plan
by Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, FKP and the Eumundi
Brewing Group to build a $36 million integrated
development comprising accommodation units, restaurants
and retail space over four storeys. The proposed
Outrigger Airlie Beach Lagoon Resort would be
built largely on car park land between the Airlie
Beach lagoon and Airlie Creek.
operator Suzette Pelt, a board member on Tourism
Whitsunday, is leading the charge to stop the
plan dead in its tracks. She said the Save Our
Foreshore group would be asking the State Government
to investigate how the Whitsunday Shire Council
came to throw its support behind the venture.
Townsville Bulletin phoned the Whitsunday Shire
Council yesterday and asked that Mayor Mario Demartini
contact the paper and answer a number of questions
regarding the foreshore development proposal.
Cr Demartini did not respond.
Ms Pelt said council was being obstructive and
was not making information about the project available
to the public.
``We feel like we are being hoodwinked. There
has been no transparency. Our aim is to stop this
project,'' she said.
said there were many business people involved
in tourism in the Whitsundays who would normally
welcome new capital coming into the area, but
on this occasion were against the Outrigger proposal
because of its unsuitability to the Airlie Beach
Jan Clifford of Airlie Beach and Whitsunday Marketing
said she dealt with tour operators over a wide
area of Queensland and said that from Mount Isa
to Maryborough to Cairns, people in the tourism
business were against the Airlie Beach foreshore
being taken over by a resort-style development.
Pelt said opponents of the project were not anti-development.
we are saying is that it is not an appropriate
development for the site. This will not attract
people to Airlie Beach,'' she said.
She said the land was zoned park and recreation
and was Crown land that was managed by the Whitsunday
Shire Council as a car park.
Pelt said she feared the development, if it went
ahead, would also include a major gaming room
component. She said this would not be suitable,
given the proximity of a children's playground
and the public lagoon.
said under a previous plan for the area, any development
on the land was supposed to complement green spaces
either side of the car park.
was supposed to be an attraction that fitted in
with the land on either side, but when this surfaced
it just took everyone by surprise.'
said if it went ahead, Airlie Beach's two-storey
main street would become four-storey and that
all of the view corridors through to the sea would
village atmosphere which is integral to Airlie
Beach's strategic plan will be lost,'' she said.