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Region’s feedback on Chinatown idea

By Mark Beale

COMMUNITY feedback following last week’s announcement by Whitsunday Regional Council about a $300 million Chinatown development for Airlie Beach has been mixed, though mostly positive.

The Whitsunday Times held an online poll asking whether people welcomed the development or not.

At the time of going to press yesterday, 261 people had responded to the poll with 160 or 61 per cent saying yes and 101 or 39 per cent saying no. Airlie Beach Chamber of Commerce president Tony Laurent said the feeling among the local business community was that the development was “wholeheartedly welcome”.

“It’s going to be a major feature of land-based entertainment in the Whitsundays giving international travellers and people from Townsville, Mackay and the western regions another reason to come to Airlie Beach,” he said. Mr Laurent conceded some people appeared not to fully understand the exact location or size of the Chinatown site on Waterson Way, but that this could easily be rectified.

“I think Council have a need perhaps to set up some sort of information centre so the residents of Airlie Beach are clear what the situation is and then we can all just work together towards a good thing,” he said. Whitsundays Marketing and Development Limited (WMDL) chairman Jim Elder said the Chinatown development was a significant commitment to the Whitsundays from Mr Raymond Wang and his China Australia Entrepreneurs Association Incorporated (CAEAI) consortium.

Mr Wang, who is president of the CAEAI and director of Whitsunday Chinatown Investment Pty Ltd, said the design and construction of the Chinatown project would comply strictly with the environmental and town planning requirements of both the Queensland Government and Council. “As we develop this project it will create up to 4000 jobs, bring in hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue, up to one million international tourists and one million domestic tourists per year,” he said.

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