Storm is brewing on marina

CYCLONE Ului left plenty of damage in its wake and one of the hardest-hit areas in the Whitsundays was Shute Harbour.

Countless boats were ripped off their moorings and smashed against rocks or left dangling amongst the mangroves.

Naturally after a disaster of this magnitude, debate started about whether or not a marina was needed to help to avert such large-scale boat damage in Shute Harbour when the next serious storm tears hits.

Speaking in parliament soon after the cyclone, Member for Whitsunday Jan Jarratt advocated a new marina.

“Seeing boats like this is heartbreaking,” she told parliament.

“I, for one, am now an absolute advocate for a new marina at Shute Harbour.

“If these boat owners had a safe harbour to retreat to, they may not now be left with such a devastating outcome.”

The comments attracted little attention at the time, but conservation group Save Our Foreshore has now come out with an attack on Ms Jarratt, labelling her comments “opportunistic” and “ill-informed”.

Save Our Foreshore president Suzette Pelt also said the marine push was hiding another agenda.

“Jan Jarratt and the Queensland Government first need to come clean about the fact that Shute Harbour is not about a marina, but about creating a new suburb in a pristine area along with four and five-storey buildings, built on public foreshore and into protected World Heritage waters,” Ms Pelt said.

“It's an unaffordable and unsustainable pipedream that would cost the council and ratepayers of this region financially and environmentally.

“Marinas are not built as sudden cyclone shelters for boat owners that choose to be moored outside under normal conditions.

“It would be more sensible and helpful for Ms Jarratt to support better information about cyclone preparation and safe places to head for than to blindly and opportunistically calling for more marinas based on a one-in-40-year storm.”

In response to the attack, Ms Jarratt said that as a resident of the area she would not be opposed to some development of Shute Harbour, but as the local member she was in no position to pre-empt the co-ordinator general's decision on whether or not any such development would eventuate.

She said her speech in parliament was nothing other than a reflection of the devastation felt by the community.

“I thought it was appropriate reflection at the time.”

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