RESTORATION: Shute Harbour Marina before Cyclone Debbie damage. Picture: Supplied
RESTORATION: Shute Harbour Marina before Cyclone Debbie damage. Picture: Supplied

Iconic Whitsundays gateway gets $10m boost

MORE than two years after being battered by Cyclone Debbie, the iconic gateway to the Whitsundays will finally be restored to its former glory.

Another $10 million in funding will be announced for Shute Harbour today after technical issues delayed the project.

The assistance is being provided under the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

Whitsunday Regional Council will also provide $18.3 million for the restoration.

After being thrashed by 230km/h winds, Shute Harbour was considered "ground zero" for Cyclone Debbie and described as looking like a "war zone" in its wake.

RESTORATION: Cyclone damaged Shute Harbour. Picture: Annette Dew
RESTORATION: Cyclone damaged Shute Harbour. Picture: Annette Dew

READ MORE: LOOKING BACK: The day Debbie unleashed her anger 

But that is all about to change, with the restoration works set to include a demolition of the damaged infrastructure, a seawall reconstruction, a raised carpark, a new floating pontoon and reconstruction of the terminal, fuel facility and other land-based facilities.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the council had been granted an extension to complete the complex project until June 30, 2021.

"The completion date for works associated with STC Debbie funded under the NDRRA was June 30 2019, however due to the geotechnical complexity of the Shute Harbour project, it was obvious more time was needed to complete the project," the Premier said.

"The project is incredibly complex as it is adjacent to delicate marine ecosystems in a challenging location with exposed coastal conditions."

Dawson MP George Christensen said the much-needed project would restore one of the main gateways to the Whitsundays for both tourists and island workers.

"This project will improve the harbour's overall structural stability, making it more resilient against future weather events," Mr Christensen said.

"It will also be a welcome boost to the local economy which has only just found its feet again in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Debbie."