RESIDENTS and tourists watched on, on Thursday, June 8, as Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Julie Hall reopened stage one of the Airlie Beach Bicentennial Boardwalk, between Coral Sea Resort and Coral Sea Marina.
It was an unofficial re-opening and walk-through for the major stakeholders, as a thank you for their patience, while the boardwalk was closed.
The section of the walkway has been totally replaced and widened to improve user safety.
It has now re-opened for public use and an official opening will be held in the future, date to be advised.
Mayor Hall said the boardwalk urgently needed an upgrade to ensure its longevity and to continue its role as a vibrant connectivity hub along the Coral Sea.
“It was funded and built as part of the 1988 Australian Bicentennial celebrations and initially consisted of a simple walking track, which connected Shingley Beach to Cannonvale,” she said.
“Now, the boardwalk encompasses over 630 metres of raised walkway structure and is a much-loved trail, which allows residents and tourists to walk all the way from Airlie Beach to Cannonvale Beach.
“The old, timber boardwalk has been replaced with a composite fibre material that is environmentally friendly and resistant to rust, rot and corrosion.
“This material has a 100-year design life, which will significantly reduce future maintenance costs on our ratepayers.
“The width has also been increased by one metre, which will increase capacity and allow pedestrians and cyclists to better share the boardwalk.”
Mayor Hall said council had also embraced sustainability in the project by integrating eco-friendly features.
“Solar-powered lighting illuminates the boardwalk at night, ensuring a safe and environmentally conscious experience for users,” she said.
“It’s important that we also support local business, so we are proud to have worked with Plants Whitsunday on the boardwalk upgrade.
“Thanks to our community for your patience and understanding while we completed Stage 1.”
Upgrades to remaining sections of the boardwalk will be delivered in stages, subject to future grant funding.
Stage one was supported by the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Grant.