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Thursday, April 18, 2024

At odds over boardwalk

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RESIDENTS of Airlie Beach are struggling with the closure of the Bi-centennial Boardwalk, between Coral Sea Marina and Coral Sea Resort, and are calling on council to open up an alternative walkway.

Works commenced on Monday, April 24, and will take approximately six weeks to complete.

Currently, the entire boardwalk between Coral Sea Marina and Coral Sea Resort has been removed in preparation for the new replacement.

Craig Ross, a resident of Oceanview Avenue, Airlie Beach, is questioning why Whitsunday Regional Council (WRC) hasn’t opened up a walkway, that previously provided access, before the boardwalk was built.

Hawkes slipway is located at the west end of Ocean View Avenue, and previously allowed access down to the marina, but it has since been blocked.

“The issue that we all have is that it just seems sensible that, since this work has begun on the boardwalk, to just open that track back up,” Mr Ross said.

“I’ve been involved in community things for many years, and it just seems sad that, while this is happening, why can’t we just open that back up?

“Why are council so concerned about opening it? Just open it up so people can walk down there.”

WRC’s communications and marketing manager Greg Martin said the option to open the pathway was explored briefly, but it quickly became apparent it was not a suitable option.

“It involves tenancy issues, safety issues, and the pathway would not be compliant, the risk of any preparations causing landslides if heavy rains occurred,” he said.

“The financial costs are not good value for money for a six-week closure with a temporary detour option already available.”

Residents are also upset with the lack of public consultation on the matter, as Mr Ross alleges that there is no need for the boardwalk to be replaced and it is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

“I asked council why there was no public consultation, and I was told that it wasn’t necessary because it was a maintenance issue,” he said.

“I’m an engineer and qualified building inspector, that’s my profession, I can go to court for building issues as an expert witness, so I know what I am talking about, there is nothing wrong with that boardwalk.

“I’ve been right under it and there is just nothing wrong with it.

“I urge the council to reconsider their decision and engage with the community to find a more cost-effective and reasonable solution that benefits the residents and ratepayers.”

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