Graham Wyatt, Robyn Mitchell, Jacquie Sheils, Susan Lilley and Peter Jennings shared their opinions and ideas at the Council community consultation on Tuesday.
Graham Wyatt, Robyn Mitchell, Jacquie Sheils, Susan Lilley and Peter Jennings shared their opinions and ideas at the Council community consultation on Tuesday.

Residents talk about future

What they said

Susan Lilley, Shute Harbour: Tropical growth and tropical architecture was an important focus.

We are killing the tropical experience.

Graham Wyatt, Cannonvale: No matter how successful a tourism town is, you have got to make sure there is a stable permanent population.

We are going to lose the boats [cruise ships]. We need a list of things they can do [here] for the day.

Robyn Mitchell, Mandalay: We wouldn't have this town [without investors] and we wouldn't have this community. If we exclude developers and investors who want to put their money where their mouth is, we will see this town die.

Adrian Abrahams, Ratepayers Association chairman: [Backpackers] are very, very good advocates for tourism so we do have to look after them.

Jacquie Sheils, Cannonvale: There is an element of cynicism because of the work already put in by many with Vision Airlie, Vision 2015 and Whitsunday Way.

IDEAS and suggestions were aplenty at the Council community consultations on Tuesday at the Reef Gateway Hotel.

Despite some initial cynicism from residents at the morning session, who said they were tired of hearing and contributing to community plans (Whitsunday Way, Vision Airlie and Vision 2015 in the past), the 40 strong crowd made clear what they would like to see for Airlie's future.

The second consultation drew similar numbers on Tuesday night.

One strong message voiced was that there must be things to attract tourists to the mainland – and keep them here for more than one night – as well as maintaining a stable permanent community. Hot topics included the importance of a cinema in Airlie Beach and clear information for tourists on what they can do in town.

Another was whether developers posed as a positive or negative presence in the region.

Mandalay resident Peter Jennings said he didn't want to see Airlie Beach to be like every other coastal town.

“We have got to try and find a point of difference for Airlie Beach,” he said.

Council mayor Mike Brunker made a brief appearance but said he did not stay for the consultations because some residents got distracted by talking about current council issues and others didn't feel confident to speak freely while the mayor was present. Council strategic planner and forum facilitator Amanda Pugh said she was pleased to see strong numbers on Tuesday.

She said it was important the community worked with the planners to show what they wanted for the future.

“We don't want to write something behind closed doors in council,” she said.

Tuesday's forums were the last for this part of the consultation process. Sessions have been held in Bowen, Collinsville and Proserpine.

Surveys have also been sent to 16,000 households for further feedback and there will be focus groups and personal consultations held before the final report is given back to the community for approval.


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