Popular market set to move soon
AFTER more than 14 months on a temporary site, the Lions Airlie Beach Community Markets are finally moving back to the Airlie Beach foreshore on Saturday.
After historically being held at the foreshore, the markets moved to a site in Coconut Grove on September 1 last year while Whitsunday Regional Council revitalised the foreshore.
A series of events - including a particularly wet start to the year and problems with grass growing through matting that was put down as expected - stalled the project, meaning the market had to remain on the temporary site for much longer than expected.
Market chairman Paul Perrin said only the regular market stallholders would be at this week's market, with organisers wanting to iron out any problems with the site before inviting all stallholders to join in.
"There's a lot of unknowns on Saturday, such as access and (stall) positioning,” he said.
"We're trying to do a low-key first few weeks.”
All stallholders are expected to be able to be part of the markets again in two or three weeks.
The cruise ship markets, which operate whenever a cruise ship comes into Airlie Beach, will also continue at the Coconut Grove site for the moment, but will move to the foreshore in the near future.
Mr Perrin said this would help the market organisers sort out any "teething problems” before holding the extra markets on the foreshore.
He is, however, pleased the Saturday market will finally be able to return to its home from this weekend.
"We're excited. It's a new start,” he said.
"I think it's good for the town to have it back on the (foreshore) area.”
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox is also happy for the markets to move back to the foreshore ,which underwent a $6.3 million revitalisation.
"Council are pleased to have the markets return to the revitalised foreshore,” he said.
"The markets are another way of activating the foreshore.
"Council's happy to have them back down there. I plan to come down (on Saturday) and have a wander around myself.”