Protests block the main street of Airlie Beach. Protests about sale of the Airport, protests about McDonalds, protests about developers land grab, protests about shale oil mining, protests about marinas. What are you rebelling about? What've you got?
McDonalds wanted a giant yellow M arches sign. I suspect each francise is required to attempt to get a giant set of arches installed. I believe the giant arches was intended to be erected on the Whitsunday Village clock tower in the main street of Airlie Beach (you know, the tower where one of the clocks is always wrong).
Naturally local residents thought that in a two block main street, it would be farly easy for anyone with the munchies to find a McDonalds without a sign larger than the fast food cafe. There was a protest march about that. The giant sign was not erected.
If there are no problems with the Whitsunday Coast Airport, why were there so many community protests about moving the airport, and about council handling and council secrecy? Why did the secret council and developer agreement about the sale end up being fought through the courts. Did council try to sell an airport they didn't even own to someone else?
Of course there were protests. Not that anyone could find out what Whitsunday council had actually done about selling the airport. That FAQ PDF didn't help much. Neither did this response to a comment on the airport sale by State member of Parliament, nor this PDF of a bad photocopy of a public notice. Did the airport make a profit for council? Council explain about the benefits from the airport. This agreement is all commercial in confidence. Personally I think any company that wants to deal with any level of government should have to put every detail of the negotiations on the web, in full, in real time. Public land and money needs to be out there under public gaze.
A land grab for the absolute seafront Airlie Creek carpark and reserve by FKP/Eumundi. This would have involved an attractive looking shopping area, bar and resort. However, as well as replacing the existing small supermarket and chemist, it would have grabbed the public land used as a car park and reserve near Airlie Lagoon. Naturally residents objected, over many years, with petitions and protest marches. Council stalled. It looked as if the building plan was dead, but the corpse was not yet buried. Eventually the stinking corpse of this land grab was officially buried by the state government (not helped by our local member, who seemed to me to be busy avoiding taking sides).
Personally, I think town planning in Airlie Beach should aim at removing all buildings on the seaward side of the road. Keep the foreshore totally open, like at Townsville. It looks better. Tourists like it more. Plus it is the right thing to do for the future.
Shale Oil Mining proposed for Proserpine has already provoked a protest by Airlie Beach Save Our Foreshore community group. More than six hundred people at Airlie Beach markets have already signed petitions against allowing shale oil mining in the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef marine park.
Hungry Jacks (equivalent to Burger King) opened in Cannonvale at the Whitsunday Shopping Centre on Tuesday 5 May 2009. Owner operator Mark Robinson said public response was very positive.
A protest booth at Airlie Beach markets was collecting signatures protesting the size and nature of the Ugly Jacks giant signage. Too large, too bright, and too many signs. Helen Loft is attempting to gather 500 signatures on her petition. The first Saturday 141 locals and 89 visitors signed. Others at the protest table included Ingrid Maring and Kurt Maring, whose home looks straight out at the bright lights of the Whitsunday Shopping Centre. Why would anyone, especially a tourist, want to be confronted with giant advertising signs for greasy whoppers? In fact, why are we putting up with this sort of advertising anywhere?
In a country where obesity is a major health concern, why is there any more fast food advertising? We do not have tobacco advertising in our face. What is the difference between tobacco advertising and fast food advertising. It is not like anyone actually needs either product. Does anyone need to be reminded to eat? Those who are addicted will doubtless learn who the pushers are.
Where the Rainforest meets the Sea, until the developers arrived, and the golden sand comes in dump trucks.