WHITSUNDAY community group Save Our Foreshore Inc (SOF) is extremely disappointed by the Planning and Environment Court’s decision to approve a non-compliant high-rise on the Airlie Beach foreshore.
Paragraph 134 of the Court’s reasons accept that:
“The proposal is non-compliant and beyond reasonable expectations, in relation to height. That is a significant matter, particularly in the context of the present planning scheme provisions.”
Yet the proposal was still approved, a SOF spokesperson said.
“To allow a 12-storey high-rise in a five-storey zone on the Airlie Beach foreshore will torpedo the future of the Whitsundays, by dramatically changing the character of the town,” SOF spokesperson Suzette Pelt said.
Ms Pelt added that Whitsunday Regional Council (WRC) had made ‘the worst possible decision’ for Airlie Beach’s unique brand of low-rise, ‘village resort’ atmosphere.
“The long legal case lasted many months and was opposed by WRC,” Ms Pelt said.
“More than 1,700 people wrote letters of objection to the proposal but these were ignored.
“‘The many negatively impacted tourism operators, as well as the community at large, are devastated. We see this decision as one that will, in reality, hold the Whitsundays back.
Ms Pelt said there were many issues.
“The development site is problematic, the development must obtain and maintain a five-star luxury rating and, as stated in the judgement (paragraph 123), to date no potential operator has committed to the development.
“This decision could also set off a string of future applications along the length of Airlie Beach, resulting in what’s known as the ‘canyon effect’.
“This decision speaks to the disaster that is the Whitsunday Regional Town Plan, which has been steadily eroded, and development controls watered down, so we end up with a council that allows anything to go anywhere. Why even bother with a Town Plan if this is what can happen?
“Visitors and tourism operators were not consulted but stood to be the biggest losers.
“The decision is profoundly disappointing, and SOF will now consider our options with respect to an appeal.”
For more information contact Save Our Foreshore secretary Faye Chapman on 0407 207 0441.