AFTER months of campaigning for better facilities, Whitsunday boaties will now have access to the new boat ramp at Port of Airlie. This is to compensate for the closure of the Abel Point ramp which is soon to undergo upgrade works. The $750,000 Port of Airlie boat ramp and car park is yet to be completed.
The long awaited facility at Port of Airlie was deemed usable on Tuesday morning and is expected to stay open for a period of at least two to three months. Port of Airlie receivers McGrathNicol's senior manager Anna Hawter said the boat ramp and car park would be closed again mid-year to enable completion to the required standard.
Current mayor Mike Brunker said the facility would be particularly useful for boaties over the upcoming Easter holiday.
"It still doesn't get away from their issues at VMR but it'll take the pressure off with boating in the Whitsundays," Cr Brunker said. Cr Brunker said under the conditions of the Port of Airlie development approval the boat ramp did not have to be opened until 2014.
"All credit to them," he said.
Local fisherman Bob Spees who has been at the forefront of the campaign for better boat ramps, visited Port of Airlie on Tuesday so he could talk face-to-face with Cr Brunker about the wider issues at stake.
"We've got to use commonsense instead of fighting over it all the time," Mr Spees said.
Mr Spees asked for a porta-loo to be installed and suggested Port of Airlie "borrow" the floating pontoon, which is currently not able to be installed at VMR. Mr Spees also said he would fight tooth and nail to have funding from Abel Point transferred to VMR. He said he would be seeking a meeting with the Whitsundays newly elected MP Jason Costigan in the very near future.