Airlie Beach 10.5m playground to open in February
A BRAND new 10.5m playground is expected to open next month ahead of the Airlie Beach Foreshore Revitalisation project's completion in March.
Whitsunday Regional Council councillor Jan Clifford said construction works are on schedule, weather permitting, however the playground will have a soft opening by the end of February.
Cr Clifford said the playground would "broaden the appeal" of the area, catering to older children as well as younger ones.
"All we've ever had in the past catered to younger children, but there's nothing to cater to the older children who don't want to sit on the swings," Cr Clifford said.
"At the bottom there's a pirate ship for the younger children. Then there's the Skywalk rope bridge which is all enclosed and has three different slides to choose from."
The tunnel slides, which arrived on site this month, are made from stainless steel which transfers heat at a low rate, reducing the impact of direct heat on the playground.
Two sky cabins will add to the attraction, interconnected by rope bridges and a climbing octa net.
While playground construction gets underway, there's plenty more that needs to be done.
Cr Clifford said Ergon Energy would complete electrical works and the dedicated carpark would be sealed in the last week of January.
She said the irrigation system would be approximately 60 per cent complete by the end of January while 3m footpaths near Fairy Tree Park would be complete by the end of February.
Contractors closed the fencing around Fairy Tree Park on Tuesday and confirmed the area will remain closed to the public until the footpaths are completed.
The new sound stage installation and toilet block refurbishment are yet to begin.
Work on the Airlie Beach Revitalisation project began in September 2018 and received a mixed response from people in the Whitsunday region.
While many recognised the benefits of the project, others said it simply wasn't necessary.
Fencing around the site has been a particular eyesore to the town, having restricted beach access for almost six months.
Cr Clifford said she understands the works have been disruptive, but "you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs."
"What we're doing is formalising the park, not the dust bowl that was there before. There wasn't a blade of grass. The earth was so compacted that nothing would grow," she said
"It's been very unloved for a long time. There was more dust then grass and I think with the formalisation of the area, it will have a lot more appeal.
"Most of the stuff you wouldn't see. Water and sewerage utilities have been put in underground and more power lines to service the Jubilee Pocket side of town.
"We're going to end up with more parking, a new stage area, which will face back up the hill, lawn seating coming down and new plantings.
"Overall, everyone's going to be really happy with it and hopefully everyone enjoys it."