In November 2021, Whitsunday Regional Council approved a non-compliant high rise tower on Port of Airlie/Meridien foreshore. The approval requires taking of public foreshore parkland reserve for the access road to the development.
Airlie Beach is famous for its low-rise village atmosphere, an essential part of its tourism image. The Whitsunday community immediately rallied to fundraise an appeal Council’s decision in the Planning Environment Court. This appeal date is set for Brisbane, 14 July, 2022. PORT OF AIRLIE (now in receivership) was a State Significant development which was given approval under specific conditions which included community consultation that took into account impacts on surrounding businesses and properties. Airlie Beach did not give up Muddy Bay for a highrise. The State Government appears to have abrogated its responsibility to deliver its own conditions which set a 5 storey maximum height.
Subsequently, Council has REFUSED a second waterfront highrise in Shingley Beach for exactly the same reasons they should have refused Port of Airlie’s application. Their quality of decision making is breathtakingly inconsistent.
- The highrise tower in no way shape or form meets the objectives/outcomes of the Town Plan.
- There is no proven need or demand. Council has only an out of date, self-serving 2016 hotel study (Norling) that claims a need for a 5 star hotel, based largely on (China) growth. And which compared Airlie Beach to major centres like Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns! High rise of course does not equal 5 star. Rather, in small, niche tourism destinations like Airlie Beach, low rise is exactly what visitors like, and residents prefer too.
- In refusing a previous 15 story highrise in Airlie Beach, previous Mayor Willcox correctly said “insert quote”
Solicitor William McKenzie confirms that he appeared by telephone in the Planning and Environment Court in Brisbane yesterday for the review of this matter where Her Honour Judge Kefford made the following orders:
- By 16 September 2022 we are to identify whether we agree to the proposed amended conditions 6.2, 7.1 and 7.2 set out in the Council’s letter of 8 September 2022. letter of agreement emailed 16 September 2022
- By 5 October 2022 the Developer must file and serve a list of matter relied upon to support approval of the development application.
- By 19 October 2022 the Council must file and serve a list of matters relied upon to support approval of the development application.
- The Appeal is listed for further review on 21 October 2022.