by Louise Shannon
ONE of the Whitsundays most idyllic locations for an after-school play, a beach adventure, a family get-together or a birthday celebration for any age group, is set to receive an upgrade.
The Canonnvale Beach foreshore is a popular location and residents are encouraged to meet with Councillor Ron Petterson tomorrow to offer their thoughts and feedback on draft plans for its upgrade which have now been made available to the public.
Local resident for 35 years and teacher at Cannovale State School Maz McDougall said she believed the planned redevelopment, which included improvements to the barbecue areas, installation of exercise equipment along the footpath and more tables, would provide a much-needed boost to the area.
"Cannonvale Beach is a community family beach and the boardwalk means that more tourists are coming here too," she said.
"It's such a great hub for after-school activities and what they're planning on doing looks awesome. It will be great to see Cannovale get back to the nice little spot that it was."
Ms McDougall said a stinger net would also be reinstalled which would be a great asset for summer.
"It's going to be so nice for families to be back down there building sand castles, shell collecting, and playing beach cricket. It's a great spot to get together," she said.
Mayor Andrew Willcox has urged community members to visit the public display stall and view the concept plans tomorrow.
"We have a comprehensive concept plan already prepared, and the final step before progressing with the works is to get feedback from the community."
Councillor Ron Petterson said the $590,000 project envisaged a wonderful revamp of the area, which had taken into account ideas and input from local residents, and he was now passionate about moving ahead with Stages 1 and 2 of the proposed plans.
"I've always loved Cannonvale Beach and I've always thought it was such a beautiful spot with such an incredible view. But the beach and the playground equipment was really dated," he said.
Cr Petterson said he was keen for people to come and look at the plans and "let me know whether we've hit the nail on the head with what they wanted".
He said the long-term goal was to revitalise the whole area and bring it back to life, creating a community space that suited everyone.
Cr Petterson said the design had included considerations that would allow parents or older children to be using exercise equipment while younger children would be able to play nearby, and the barbecues would be located near where the rest of a person's family or friends would be gathered.
Plans also included improved footpaths and connections, and more car parking near Cannonvale Beach.
Teacher and Cannonvale State School coordinator of the Reef Guardian program, Kerri Head, said children learnt a lot by spending time at the foreshore. She said the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's eco challenge was held at this location and was dedicated to teaching children about seed propagation, mangroves and biodiversity.
"Throughout the year different classes go over for different purposes, including beach clean-ups and science classes. We make the most of that whole area. I think it's important to get the children outside so they can see nature for themselves and they can learn how to have a personal connection with the environment and the world around them. Then they take greater pride in what they're doing."
She said she noticed a lot of habit change, whereby the messages children were learning were being taken back to the classroom and then back home.
"We can create a whole community of people who are environmentally minded," she said.
Have your say on the concept plans at the Cannonvale Beach public display along the foreshore, tomorrow, Friday 14 July, from 3pm to 6pm or by completing the short survey online.