Work to start on main street

THE tender for the first stage of the Airlie main street upgrade has been awarded to Brisbane-based company ProBuild Civil.

At yesterday's ordinary meeting of Whitsunday Regional Council in Bowen, councillors voted unanimously to award the tender.

Mayor Mike Brunker said he was "just ultra-pleased that we can be full-steam ahead," he said. Cr Brunker said work was likely to start in about two weeks with the construction company establishing a base on council's land in Waterson Way.

"That will help minimise the disruption in the main street," he said.

Cr Brunker said the "lead-in" to the WatersonWay roundabout would be first to be worked on.

"The footpath works will start after Christmas and we've asked them to complete that by the end of next year," he said.

"We're not going to have a Christmas break affected. I think that's important for all the business owners," he said.

Meanwhile, the centre section of the street continues to attract controversy, with questions asked about monetary costs and whether the proposed land swap is really "like for like".

Save Our Foreshore Vice President Rory McCourt said documentation obtained from Department of Enivironment and Resource Management (DERM) showed Council was actually required to purchase the new block at full market price, plus GST.

"Logic says if they can't afford to resume Des Davey's block, they can't afford to buy the foreshore," Mr McCourt said.

Cr Brunker said the way the process worked was that "we will purchase a block of land off the state, then the state will purchase the other block off us".

"[With] the unimproved value of Des' block compared to the unimproved value of where we're going to put him, there might be a small difference [in cost], which council will have to pick up, but it will be as cost neutral as possible," he said.

As for the question of GST, Cr Brunker said that "in effect, council doesn't pay GST, because we claim it back".


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