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Highrise showdown due Friday

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THE CONTROVERSIAL Whitsunday Council decision to approve a high-rise tower on Airlie’s foreshore will be challenged in court on Friday, October 21, 2022.

Whitsunday community group Save Our Foreshore Inc (SOF) has successfully challenged two other foreshore high-rise developments, which like this one relied on the taking of public parkland.

“We’ve reached this critical point thanks to the amazing financial support of the Whitsunday community, businesses and visitors, who were shocked and disgusted with council’s decision,” SOF president Suzette Pelt said.

“What happened to the original Queensland Government approval of a maximum of three to five storeys in an integrated resort development, over the whole site?”

Ms Pelt said council approved the Port of Airlie receiver’s reconfiguration of the site into 10 separate lots. 

“The high-rise tower in contention would dominate from just one of these lots,” she said.

“Should the other nine sites be developed in the same way, there would be a Mini Manhattan separating adjacent Airlie apartments, homes and shops from the beach.

“Foreshore high-rises just don’t belong in Airlie Beach and losing public parkland to make it happen is just not on either.

“Traditionally, town plans support maintaining the character of a place and, for Airlie Beach, that is its low rise, village atmosphere brand, which has taken decades to create resulting in Whitsundays and Airlie Beach being recognised as a unique destination for tourism and lifestyle.”

Ms Pelt said SOF believed it had a very strong case.

“Based on the opinion of our expert witness and barrister, who will argue not just on planning issues, but on social and community grounds as well,” she said. 

“Over 2,200 people made written objections to this high-rise. That these were summarily dismissed is nothing less than a slap in the face to a community who cares passionately about their town.”

To date, SOF has paid more than $22,000 in legal fees. This case could continue through many more reviews, so SOF is still fundraising to cover ongoing legal costs. 

If you can help the community fight the threat of high-rise, direct deposits can be made to: Save Our Foreshore Inc.

National Australia Bank BSB: 084501. Account: 575807657.

Or GO FUND ME – STOP AIRLIE HIGH RISE.

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