Planned upgrades at Shute Harbour

THE operators of the Shute Harbour Ferry Terminal have announced plans for an upgrade.

However, Fantasea has announced it will move its base to the Port of Airlie and Cruise Whitsundays has confirmed it will continue to operate from Abel Point marina.

Shute Harbour Island Ferry Terminal (SHIFT) has lodged a development application with Whitsunday Regional Council for an $11 million upgrade.

SHIFT has a lease on the terminal under licence from Whitsunday Regional Council.

Council has confirmed it has received the application and has referred it to the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM).

The proposed upgrade includes a new ferry terminal, the construction of a boardwalk with dining and retail opportunities and some short stay accommodation.

SHIFT could not confirm this week who would be using the terminal.

“There have been some discussions with some other larger operators but as it is early stages it is not appropriate to comment further or name the companies,” a spokesperson for SHIFT said yesterday.

Fantasea announced this week that it would be operating its ferry services from the new Port of Airlie within about 18 months.

General Manager of Fantasea, Michelle Rynne, said they had not been approached, informed or consulted about any upgrade at Shute Harbour.

Director of Cruise Whitsundays, Chris Jacobs, said yesterday that Abel Point would remain the base for his company and that only a limited number of ferry services would run out of Shute Harbour.

Meanwhile, spokesperson for SHIFT, Jeff Smith said the new passenger ferry terminal would provide a boost for the Whitsundays and its image in keeping with its profile as a tourist destination.

“The Shute Harbour terminal was once the second busiest passenger ferry terminal in Australia, but it has aging facilities and needs upgrading,” Mr Smith said.

“The rejuvenation will ensure its facilities are a suitable gateway to Whitsundays and can accommodate future increases in passengers and vessels,” Mr Smith said.

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