DEBATE CONTINUES: Whitsunday Ratepayers Association secretary Tony Moscato, treasurer Ross Plowman and president Adrian Abrahams met with LNP candidate for Whitsunday Jason Costigan, Jan Clifford and Federal member for Dawson George Christensen to discuss the Airlie Beach main street upgrade on Friday. Photo Aimee Vinci / Whitsunday Times
DEBATE CONTINUES: Whitsunday Ratepayers Association secretary Tony Moscato, treasurer Ross Plowman and president Adrian Abrahams met with LNP candidate for Whitsunday Jason Costigan, Jan Clifford and Federal member for Dawson George Christensen to discuss the Airlie Beach main street upgrade on Friday. Photo Aimee Vinci / Whitsunday Times

Community opinion still sought

POLITICIANS, community groups and now Airlie's own councillor have been pounding the pavements to gauge community opinion on the controversial land swap.

Cr Jan Clifford said the results of the latest survey had yet to be collated but the initial feedback seemed to be that people would "prefer it to be public open space and they would support a resumption".

"This is not a witch hunt against Des Davey - he's just the meat in the sandwich I'm afraid," she said.

"I just want whatever is the best for the community and to know that the majority of people are happy. "At the moment it would seem that they're not," Cr Clifford said.

LNP candidate for the Whitsundays Jason Costigan agrees.

"I believe the land swap isn't necessary and isn't wanted, reflected by the views of more and more local people, including members of the Whitsunday Ratepayers Association," Mr Costigan said.

"What we need is a straight out resumption, just like what happened in Townsville where a McDonalds restaurant was resumed to make way for the redevelopment of Flinders Street," he said.

I am not alone in this fight and I'm very pleased to have the support of Federal MP George Christensen and Airlie's resident councillor Cr Jan Clifford, who let's not forget, was kept out of the original planning group back in 2009."

Cr Clifford said she was "extremely disappointed to have been excluded from the planning committee of this most significant project for my division".

"This was the biggest upgrade for my division since the Airlie Beach lagoon," she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Christensen said that since the Airlie main street project had federal funding, he would be asking the Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean to ensure council conducted a survey on the land swap and heeded the results.

"The federal government's regional development funding should be used on projects that have the regional community's support," he said.

WHAT THEY SAID

"I think the main street upgrade is critical to the future of Airlie Beach but what's also critical is that you get it right and you can only get it right by taking the community with you on the project." George Christensen, Federal MP for Dawson.

"I want to stress that I'm all for the revitalisation of Airlie's main street and always have been. After all, Airlie has been to hell and back and we need to get the town back on a pedestal, like the Airlie of old." Jason Costigan, Whitsunday LNP candidate.

"If over 1,200 local objections gathered in a very short time-frame to meet Jan Jarratt's self determined date of 31 October are not enough, we will continue to get more until we do get enough." Suzette Pelt, SOF President.


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