Save Our Foreshore speak out against high-rise developments on the Airlie Beach Foreshore. Photo: File
Save Our Foreshore speak out against high-rise developments on the Airlie Beach Foreshore. Photo: File

Letter: ‘Today’s traveller does not want high-rise living’

Letter to the Editor – Contributed by Save Our Foreshore, Airlie Beach.

High-rise was never intended for the foreshore of our iconic, world-renowned tourist town.

Strong, consistent and long-term global trends show today’s traveller does not want to experience high-rise living, but instead seeks a natural, authentic environment.

Look at the dismal visitor and business occupancy on the Gold Coast.

Yet local occupancy, despite COVID, is very high, even according to high-rise fan councillor Mike Brunker at the council meeting on December 9, 2020.

Proponent, ONE Whitsunday Developments Pty Ltd, has already admitted to its proposed development‘s visual pollution by announcing plans to “use construction materials and exterior finishes to mitigate the visual impact”.

This development proposal echoes a 2014 bid for a $70 million project by the same CEO, John Rappia.

Unsuccessful, but at least the 2014 designers tried to comply with the town plan, to fit in with the low-rise, low-impact vision the town plan still promotes.

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What has happened since 2014? What is happening now?

Anything to do with the eight development applications from Port of Airlie, all with heights exceeding the town plan.

One proposed foreshore hotel/apartment building, only part of the complex, would tower above Airlie and dominate the entire foreshore.

Developers may well have interpreted Cr Brunker‘s statement to a council meeting saying he supported high-rise in Airlie Beach (seen by Save Our Foreshore officers on meeting livestream August 26, 2020) as a sign that all of council is open to high-rise proposals, despite the flouting of the town plan, despite tourism industry indicators and despite endless community opposition.

Save our Foreshore president Suzette Pelt and secretary/treasurer Faye Chapman are against high-rise developments on the Airlie Beach Foreshore. Photo: File
Save our Foreshore president Suzette Pelt and secretary/treasurer Faye Chapman are against high-rise developments on the Airlie Beach Foreshore. Photo: File

It is a “full speed ahead to 1965” attitude.

We have represented our community’s passionate objection to high-rise buildings at our low-rise foreshore since 2004 when Save Our Foreshore successfully fought the first high-rise hotel proposal adjacent to the Airlie Beach Lagoon.

A development application for a massive resort complex on Shingley Dve has been submitted to the Whitsunday Regional Council. Photo: One Whitsunday Developments Pty Ltd
A development application for a massive resort complex on Shingley Dve has been submitted to the Whitsunday Regional Council. Photo: One Whitsunday Developments Pty Ltd

To quote Cr Brunker “if people didn’t like the place (Airlie Beach) they wouldn’t be turning up … … they’re chock a block for Christmas” (Whitsunday Regional Council meeting December 9, 2020).

Why? Because we are a unique destination, not Noosa, Gold Coast or Waikiki Beach. We are the incomparable Airlie.

And our community has fought long and hard to keep it that way!

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