The Lions Airlie Beach Community Markets will have to remain at the Coconut Grove site for longer as top-dressing is needed on the grass at the foreshore before the markets can move back there.
The Lions Airlie Beach Community Markets will have to remain at the Coconut Grove site for longer as top-dressing is needed on the grass at the foreshore before the markets can move back there. Monique Preston

Market foreshore move pushed back again

THE markets in Airlie Beach have had their return to the foreshore pushed back to mid-November after grass at the site has not grown correctly.

Whitsunday Regional Council said a second round of top soil dressing was required for the turf reinforcement matting installed as part of the Airlie Beach Foreshore Revitalisation to allow the area to sustain high foot traffic.

Council chief executive officer Kenn Donohue said it had been hoped the new turf would completely cover the matting by now, but more work was still needed to develop a more resilient root zone.

However, the extra work means the Lion Airlie Beach Community Markets will have to remain at its temporary site on Coconut Grove.

The new November 16 date that the market will be able to move back to its foreshore site comes almost 14 months after the move to the temporary site.

This is something that has frustrated market organisers and stall holders.

Market chairman Paul Perrin said he was "beyond disappointed” that the move had again been put back.

"Yes, we had to go there (the temporary site), but it's just been drawn out too long now,” he said.

"We certainly are disappointed we're not back there.

"We don't know why we're not there.

"We're confused as to why it's taken this long so it can be used.

"We've got this area, this iconic foreshore... but it's being underutilised.”

Mr Donohue said without the matting reinforcement, the turf would rapidly decline as a result of large crowds at market days and community events.

"Council apologises for this inconvenience and thanks everyone for their patience,” he said.

"We look forward to having the Airlie Beach markets back at their home near the beach as soon as possible.”

The area will be top-dressed on Wednesday with one section being done at a time.

Each site will be barricaded off as the top-dressing takes place.