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Decking Plan Hinges On A Single Vote

By Ray White Whitsunday

A project to redevelop a prime strip of Airlie Beach lagoon-side land is on hold after a councillor requested to have their vote rescinded last week.

The decision to uphold the request, or not, will be made at next Wednesday’s Whitsunday Regional Council meeting.

If the council decides to rescind the vote, plans for decking overlooking the lagoon, between the fig trees, shops and restaurants, will not proceed, but if the request is rejected, last week’s 4-3 result will be upheld.

Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford said she was excited at last Wednesday’s meeting when councillors voted in favour of the proposal for decking to be built on a strip of land not suitable for gardens or grass because of continual shade cast over the area.

However Cr Clifford said she was informed late last week that Division 5 Councillor Dave Clark had rescinded his vote.

She said the lagoon had now been refilled with water after being damaged during Cyclone Debbie.

Ms Clifford said she was “disappointed” the proposal had stalled because she believed the $300,000 decking project would a be an ideal “way of tidying up that area which has become a bit of an eyesore”.

“It would also provide a great pedestrian and disabled access from the building through to the Main Street and through to the lagoon, which at the moment is quite difficult.”

She said the decking could be funded via the engineering department.

Cr Clark said yesterday he was not against the decking proposal, but had requested to repeal his yes vote, because he wanted “more robust” discussion on the plans including concise costings.

“I want to know where the money is coming from to fund this,” he said.

He said it had been mentioned during the meeting an engineering surplus could be used.

“But the more I thought about it, the more prickles it had on it,” he said.

Mr Cr Clark said he wanted to be more sure of the project before backing it.

“You can’t make $300,000 decisions on the run,” he said.

“We need to think about whether that build is right for that location.

“It needs to be looked at it in more detail. And I think the community deserves that too.”

The Airlie Beach lagoon works remain on target to be finished by the end of this month, with the popular free community facility to be a main attraction after its major rejuvenation.

Landscaping remains to be completed, and shade sails installed.

Source: Whitsunday Times.

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