The official Post Office in Airlie Beach is to close. A Post Office agency will be available in February 2009 via the Newsagency.
Most Airlie Beach PO Boxes will be moved to the Cannonvale Post Office, with the PO Box number unchanged. Those needing a PO Box within Airlie Beach can apply for a changed PO Box number in the range 5000 to 5500.
Post Office Manager Daniel Burger and postal service officer Jami Sullivan are expected to run the new Post Office service from the Airlie Beach Newsagency. The newsagency is moving from the western end of town into the former Post Office site near McDonalds in Magnums Village, in central Airlie Beach. The newsagency continues to be owned and operated by Peter Hoey.
The Airlie Beach Post Office was nearly forced to close in September 2008 when the site lease expired. Lease negotiations for Airlie Beach continued after a July lease expired, but only for a three month extension. It now appears a further lease extension has been arranged, but as at late October 2008, Post Office staff could not say what was happening. The Whitsunday Times claims the Airlie Beach Post Office will continue running. However the same story says a local business owner is taking over the business in February 2009.
The official Airlie Beach Post Office was centrally located in the main street, Shute Harbour Road, near parking at Magnum's Whitsunday Village. Australia Post had 15 applications for calls for tenders from other businesses to operate the Airlie Beach Post Office as an franchise agency. Tenders for the franchise agency closed 8 August 2008. The future of the purpose built Post Office (less than ten years old) remained uncertain until around Xmas 2008, with Australia Post unable to say where it will move to.
Australia Post already had a 13 year old franchised Post Office at the Cannonvale shopping centre. Popular long time licensee Mike Porter sold his license on 1 July 2008, and will officially hand over to Australia Post on 6 October 2008. The Cannonvale Post Office, although physically small, already has around 1000 Post Office boxes in use. The official Post Office was forced to move to the even smaller Cannonvale Post Office. In late October 2008 there were claims an additional 1500 Post Office boxes would be built at Cannonvale (don't ask where). By December, I noticed the Cannonvale Post Office building had been expanded at the back. There were an estimated extra 1400 un-numbered PO boxes there when I last looked.
There has long been a small Post Office franchise at Cannonvale. It was run from 1 June 1930 to 1938 by the mother of Mrs V M Abell. Then from 1938 to 1967 by Mrs V M Abell. It was also the telephone exchange until the automatic exchange at Airlie Beach took over in 1965. The Cannonvale Post Office was taken over in 1967 by W and A McGrath of the Cannonvale Store.
Airlie Beach Post Office has 1673 Post Office Boxes for mail delivery. There was already a waiting list for more PO Boxes. The changed Post Office will have only 500 Post Office boxes from February 2009. Post Office claimed only 480 PO Box users live in Airlie Beach, Jubilee Pocket and Shute Harbour. Which makes me wonder about the over 1000 PO boxes being used. This is sounding more and more like a thorough cluster fuck in terms of a lack of infrastructure.
With only a little over 20% of all dwellings in Airlie Beach being private homes, most people live in apartments or at resorts. The Post Office do not deliver mail to all of these resort apartments. Australia Post have very strict requirements for home delivery mail boxes, which many resorts would have problems meeting.
For example, there is no mail delivery to Whitsunday Terraces Resort, as it was constructed without street mail boxes, or even appropriate spaces to retrofit mail boxes. According to a resident, the same problem applies to Martinique Resort, and probably many apartments in Golden Orchid Drive, a street full of resorts only one block away from the Airlie Beach Post Office.
Where the Rainforest meets the Sea, until the developers arrived, and the golden sand comes in dump trucks.