The Port of Airlie Marina construction brings new levels of noise, dirt, dust and disruption to the entire eastern end of Airlie Beach in 2008. Pile driving noise levels reaching resorts overlooking the construction site exceed 85 decibel, up to six days a week, with work from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. on some days. At one stage I measured 87 to 91 decibel from Port of Airlie Marina.
Cleaning staff find it impossible to exclude dust from resort rooms. Anecdotal evidence is that tourists are avoiding resorts on Shute Harbour Road near the Port of Airlie Marina construction. Resorts on Golden Orchid Drive and Hermitage Drive, overlooking the main street of Airlie Beach, have also suffered from a downturn.
Golding marina construction workers do try to keep noise down by using vibrating pile driving, when possible. They also run a watering truck over the marina site all day, to reduce dust. However such a large site is inevitably disruptive to its close neighbours, which seems to be about half of Airlie Beach. The construction site is essentially killing off the eastern end of Airlie Beach for tourists.
In late 2006, Muddy Bay (Boathaven Bay according to Real Estate agents) was changed by Port of Airlie Marina construction. The original photograph of Boathaven Bay was from around 2005. Here are a sequence of photos of Port of Airlie Marina in September 2007. Port of Airlie Marina in October 2007 and slightly later Port of Airlie. Port of Airlie Marina in November 2007. Port of Airlie Marina turned to mud in December 2007. Progress was made by late December 2007 marina construction. The marina was flooded again at Christmas 2007. The original Skase Port of Airlie plan was larger by far.
Newspaper reports of changes to Port of Airlie Marina construction hours during 2008. Instead of pile driving from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., percussion pile driving now starts later. Variously 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. start. Sunday remains mercifully free of noise. Work often ceases around midday on Saturday, if they are working on Saturday at all, and sometimes mid afternoon on Friday.
I remind visitors and tourists that if planning day trips to the Whitsunday Islands or the Great Barrier Reef, you will not encounter the noise problem. Weekends are also generally good.
Reports that pile driving will end mid August seem very optimistic. I think mid September 2008 is probably more realistic.
If anyone wonders why my reports are not totally up to date, I have to say that we now find Airlie Beach so obnoxious that we have been away in Sydney and Woolongong for weeks, and in Cairns and Port Douglas other times or so to avoid the noise. I only update this site when I get back.
In March 2009 we left Airlie Beach on semi-permanent holidays, partly to escape the construction of the Port of Airlie Marina. I pity anyone who has to try to live at the Eastern end of Airlie Beach over the next few years.
Major road works in 2009 surrounding the Port of Airlie Marina. Delays expected from May through to early September. Shute Harbour Road, the main (and only) road to Shute Harbour. Coconut Close, beside the Marina, The Esplanade, leading to the Whitsunday Sailing Club. Hermitage Drive, leading to many new resorts, whose lower views may be blocked by the new marina.
Two lane roundabouts at Coconut Grove and Hermitage Drive, where each joins Shute Harbour Road, also providing access to the new Port of Airlie marina. The Boathouse Apartments are due to start construction soon, directly below resorts in Hermitage Drive and on Shute Harbour Road. The Boathouse Apartments are due to be complete in 2011. Construction on the Resort, and the Canal Street retail area and ferry terminal (start February 2011, complete July 2011) will continue.
Boathouse Apartments construction has started east of Airlie Beach near Shute Harbour Road in May 2009. In June 2009, a large crane was prominent over the skyline of Airlie Beach. There will be 56 apartments in Boathouse Apartments, plus retail outlets. Around 100 workers will be on the Port of Airlie Marina site, including 80 from Hutchison Builders. The Boathouse Apartments are scheduled to be completed in October 2010.
Boathouse Apartments are still not complete as at 19 December 2010. The site looks like a muddy wreck. However Meridien say settlements will start on apartments in Boathouse in January 2011. Outrigger will be operating the apartments from January 2011. Meridien expect residents living at Boathaven in February 2011.
Meridien say a 14 shop retail precinct will be open by 1 March 2011 (they were not). Businesses in the cheap (by Airlie Beach standards) $600 to $650 per square metre shopping area should include Billabong and Coffee Club. There should be a wine cellar and a sushi bar. Two fashion shops are also expected.
In March 2011 Whitsunday Times reported at least 20 buyers were terminating their purchase contracts for the Boathouse Apartments. Many potential buyers claimed no performance, as expected infrastructure and buildings had not been completed. Meridian claim changes were due to the Global Financial Crisis.
In July 2011, Meridien were reported to have taken legal action against 11 purchasers of Boathouse Apartments who did not wish to complete their purchase. Action was taken in the Brisbane Supreme Court on 30 June 2011. Purchasers are reported to be unhappy that the Boathouse Apartments are stand alone. The original models of the development showed a substantial hotel and retail precinct elsewhere on the massive construction site.
Meridien Port of Airlie project manager John Warlow said Whitsunday locals have bought half the A$150 million of apartments already sold at the Port of Airlie marina development. Meridien managing director Russell McCart said stage one was sold out. Sale of 197 apartments, at prices ranging from A$450,000 for 141 strata titled resort hotel apartments to A$1.25 million for 56 Boathouse apartments, by mid June. The first stage of building upmarket accommodation at Port of Airlie marina is expected to commence mid 2008, with the resort starting in August 2008. Up to 500 people could be working on the site in August.
The Port of Airlie Marina will have 240 marina berths. Property will consist of 15 absolute beachfront homes (they are building the beach as I write this). There would be 141 luxury resort hotel apartments, and 365 residential and tourist apartments. There is to be a shopping area, public parks, town square, boat ramps, and the bus and ferry terminal.
Golding Contractors trucked in the 50,000 cubic metres of sand in May 2008 for Meridien's new Boathaven Beach at the Port of Airlie Beach construction site. A photograph of project manager Stewart Richardson on the new beach appeared in the Whitsunday Times for 22 May 2008. If roundabouts and access roads are completed on schedule, the new beach and parklands should be available for public access by Xmas 2008.
Although the Xmas 2008 deadline was missed, landscaping was done on the end of the public beach area by May 2009. I hope the palm trees survive. Port of Airlie Development Director John Warlow said in June 2009 the beach may be accessible in August 2009. The access road may also provide some desperately needed parking for the Airlie Beach markets. In December 2010, Boathaven Beach was said to be opening by Christmas 2010. In March 2011, the Whitsunday Times noted that the new beach was still closed. In May 2011, the closed signs were gone, but this is because someone stole them. The beach was not open to the public. Newspaper headlines in June 2011 said the Boathaven Beach would be open in July 2011.
Coffee Club restaurant opened in the Port of Airlie Marina retail precinct in April 2011.
Billabong clothing shore scheduled to start in July 2011 in the Port of Airlie Marina retail precinct.
The retail precinct was intended to have around a dozen shops.
Where the Rainforest meets the Sea, until the developers arrived, and the golden sand comes in dump trucks.