Locals fear that lookout could be lost
JUST as Whitsunday Regional Council begins a study designed to identify and protect the region's views, one set of residents believe a lookout could be lost.
Locals living at Airlie Crescent have been used to a sweeping vista over the town's main street and out to sea, but now they are concerned proposed changes to building heights could potentially change all that.
Bill Kellaris said it was his belief a single developer owned several blocks leading uphill from Colonial Court where 12-metre building heights were now proposed.
He said locals fought an application for raised heights in 2008 and were successful in achieving a reduction to nine metres.
"And we were okay with that,” his neighbour Troy Holloway said, adding, "we're not anti-development”.
Mr Kellaris said while council had gone back to the drawing board on heights in some precincts of Airlie Beach, heights in the area in question had been raised, not lowered, in the latest town plan draft.
"That would effectively reduce the majority of the water view - we may just see the tips of the palms beyond the lagoon,” he said.
And it's not just the residents who would stand to lose their views Mr Kellaris said, noting the fenced lookout council created on Airlie Crescent as part of the main street redevelopment works.
"This here is a marketing device for our town - people come up here on a daily basis and photograph the vista, then they put it on social media,” he said.
According to council data the parcels of land in question have been "up-zoned” from the existing Whitsunday Shire Planning Scheme from Low Density Residential to Low-Medium Density Residential to reflect previous approvals over some parcels within this area.
The maximum building height in the Low Density Residential area is 8.5 metres or 10 metres where on a slope greater than 15%, as these subject parcels are.
While Mr Kellaris and his neighbours await council's response to their recent submissions on the town plan, they have created a Facebook page titled Airlie Beach Lookout, which they are encouraging people to post photos on and "like”.