Other local issues

Save Our Foreshore Inc.(SOF) was formed in 2004 to fight against an inappropriate development in Airlie Beach. In early 2008 that campaign was won against all odds and during this time SOF has established itself with the public and with local and state authorites.

Current issue: Shute Harbour proposed marina

The Save Our Foreshore organisation is totally opposed to what it sees as nothing more than yet another public waterfront land grab for high end residences - using a marina as its justification.

If this development on our public foreshore is approved, many thousands of locals and visitors will lose an irreplaceable environmental and scenic treasure, primarily so that a private developer can on-sell reclaimed blocks of World Heritage seabed land to third-party developers.

Submissions to the Supplementary EIS for the Shute Harbour Marina development close on the 29-04-2013.

Go to the Shute Harbour page to find more information and complete a Supplementary EIS submission.

Town Planning — proposed height increases to 8 – 12 storeys

DRAFT 2015 Whitsunday Town Plan

Is this the future we want for Airlie Beach?

Council’s draft plan proposes unprecedented building height increases within the Airlie Beach town precinct. Not one of the 8 Council commissioned reports informing the town plan identifies the need for any height increases.

As part of our submission to the 2015 Draft Town Plan, Save Our Foreshore commissioned an independant strategic planning assessment from E3 Environment and Urban and Regional Planning, to specifically consider the proposed building heights. After examining all of the relevant documents, this assessment found that:

None of these documents, despite being the most relevant strategic guiding documents, point to any need for an increase in the permissible building heights for Airlie Beach. The Airlie Beach Structure Plan contains a Concept plan for height but no strategic justification for an increase in height. Without there being some strategic basis for such an increase in height, the Airlie Beach Local Plan Heights Plan cannot be considered to constitute sound strategic planning … Without any strategic analysis of the potential impacts that an increase in allowable height might have upon economic growth, urban form and character, community cohesion and surrounding precincts, the increases in height proposed are not justified and should not be adopted.

While generally building heights are not within the scope of Save Our Foreshore’s core activities, of particular interest are the proposed building heights on the currently vacant land overlooking the marina between the Coconut Grove and Beacons roundabouts at Port of Airlie. The 2015 Draft Town Plan would allow 12 storeys on lots G and H, with 8 storeys over the land between these lots, an area designated as a public access as part of the conditions of the development. This waterfront site is adjacent to public land used for the community markets and as public parkland. Buildings of the scale and height proposed on this site (8 and 12 storeys) would impact negatively on the amenity of the adjacent public foreshore and parklands. They are not consistent with the objectives of the Town Plan and not compatible with the Airlie Beach village scale, look and feel.

The Port of Airlie is a State Significant development, with very specific development conditions attached to its 2004 approval. The development commenced in 2007 and went into receivership in 2011. The Coordinator General’s development approval conditions included, for example, building heights to maximum of 2-5 storeys in particular areas, a public access between lots G & H, a mix of residential, tourist and commercial uses, a public beach, parking, a public boat ramp and a ferry terminal. Below is an extract from the Coordinator General’s Report on the Supplementary EIS for the Port of Airlie Marine Devlopment Project, December 2003, Page 44, Section 4.23.3 Building Heights:

The heights of the various buildings within the proposed development range from 2 to 5 floors. The Proponent reduced the height of most buildings by one floor in response to comments raised in submissions on the SEIS and following detailed negotiations with the Whitsunday Shire Council. Issues raised by submitters commented on the height of the buildings being incompatible with the existing planning scheme and also would impact on views for existing property owners on Coconut Grove and Shute Harbour Road. The density and orientation of buildings on sites E (Harbourfront Residential) and G (Harbourfront Mixed Use and Public Carpark) of the Master Plan have been modified to accommodate specific views from the adjacent Portside and Airlie Beach Hotel developments.

There has also been widespread community opposition to the proposed building height increase to 8 stories in large precincts around the Airlie Beach town centre. (See this High Resolution Heights map) for more detail.

Save Our Foreshore’s other major concern is what these proposed changes to the Town Plan will mean for future developments in the State Significant development area of Shute Harbour. The Shute Harbour marina is a development proposal which we continue to campaign against, despite the Queensland Government issuing a 40 year development approval in December 2013. If the Coordinator General’s approval conditions on a development can simply be wiped out a few years down the track, what is the point of having an Environmental Impact Statement & Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement?

For the full Save Our Foreshore submission to the Draft 2015 Whitsunday Town Plan click here.


Below is an extract from the Jackson Planning and Urban Economics report, in response to a request from the then Whitsunday Shire Council (2000) to prepare a retail strategy for the Shire.

Section 4.2 on page 43 re: Airlie Beach:

There appear to be ample areas designated for commercial development (Town Core and Frame) within Airlie Beach. However, future developments are being pursued on an individual basis and apparently in isolation from each other with no clear picture of the overall direction of development … Whilst this situation continues Council will continue to be forced to consider applications on an individual basis with little prospect of understanding or considering the wider implications for the centre as a whole. Effectively, this will result in a ‘ first in - best dressed ’ approach to the approvals process which may not necessarily be in the best interests either of the business sector or the community as a whole. Airlie Beach has very significant potential for capitalizing upon future growth prospects, however, this will not be accomplished through an ad hoc approach where individual interests are pursued to the detriment of the overall product.

Submissions to the Whitsunday Regional Council (WRC) Draft Planning Scheme 2015

The Save Our Foreshore executive committee has been asked by a group of concerned community members to provide interested members of the community with help in lodging a proper submission about the town plan.

Only properly made submissions will be accepted, so it is important that:

  • Submissions must be lodged with Council by COB Friday, October 16th
  • All submissions must include the name of the submitter, their address and, importantly, a signature.
  • Please ensure your submission is readable, particularly your name and contact details.
  • Email submissions must be sent to: submissions@whitsundayrc.qld.gov.au but please read the important information below about signatures
  • If you are mailing your signed submission please post it to:

  • Whitsunday Regional Council

    Attn: Strategic Planning

    PO Box 104

    Proserpine Qld 4800

Council guidelines are somewhat confusing on the matter of signature, so we have included excerpts from advice received by a community member from a WRC department manager:

As discussed in our meeting on Monday 28 September 2015, if you are sending a submission email, you do not need to sign it, however we must have your name and business or residential address in order for it to be considered as a properly made submission. If you are send (sic) a submission as a letter (be it an attachment to an email or in person) than (sic) this must be signed, dated and include your residential or business address.

This appears to confirm that if your submission is included in the body of the email, it does not need a signature.

Information about the Whitsunday Regional Council Draft Planning Scheme 2015 can be found at: Draft Planning Scheme 2015

If you wish to use the SOF draft then cut & paste directly from this Word document

NB: Be sure to include first section and enter your name and address where indicated, then edit it as you require.

If you have had difficulties opening the heights map from the Council website, there is a (low resolution) copy available: heights map

Shale Oil Mining in pristine Goorganga Wetlands

SOF has waged a campaign against the proposed oil shale mining plant in Whitsunday.

We are appalled that this type of environmental rampage could even be contemplated in our beautiful Whitsundays, negatively inpacting not only on our environment and on the health of our communities but on our tourist, sugar growing and other agricultural industries.

The hazardous effects on human health of this profoundly polluting, dangerous process of extracting oil from oil shale, this is touted by the oil companies as having wonderful economic benefits to the adjacent small towns. The high pay packets of gullible shale oil workers blind them to the dangers, both personally and environmentally. Some seem totally oblivious to the proven danger posed by these mining plants to both environmental and human health.

In Gladstone, Qld, there is ample evidence of the damage that can be caused. A local community 20kms from a trial oil shale mining plant had the health of its citizens damaged, their properties devalued and they are still suffering.

Whitsunday is a world renowned tourist destination, branded by its pristine white beaches, its glorious blue waters and its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef.

The thriving communites of Proserpine, Airlie Beach & Cannonvale are only 8 and 12 kms (as a crow flies) from the proposed site of the oil shale plant on the Goorganga flood plain. Dependent on the winds, pollution can carry over 70kms ito include Bowen to the north and communities to the south in the potentially contaminated areas. This oil shale deposit is also only approximately 25 kms from the closest Whitsunday islands.

In the public interest, we must recognise the costs in human and economic terms to establishing these oil shale mining plants ... especially in the pristine and precious Whitsundays adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef.

Greenpeace article - Submerged scientist slams shale oil

Interview with Peter Harland, part 1
Interview with Peter Harland, part 2

Coastal management plan:

In accordance with the Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation’s announcement of a review of the State Coastal Plan and that a key legislative requirement of the review is to provide an opportunity for the public to put forward ideas and views about how to protect and manage coastal areas while providing for development that is ecologically sustainable, we make the following submission of member’s contributions to this review. Read submission...

Muddy Bay/Port of Airlie:

The Port of Airlie project is underway by Meridien Marinas who already have the marina at Abel Point. In Muddy Bay, current site of huge excavations into the ancient mud, it plans to build 15 beachfront homes, 365 apartments, a 140-room hotel and a 240 berth marina plus shops and food outlets.

Marina berths will be sold in conjunction with accomodation. Save Our Foreshore is attempting to persuade the Whitsunday Shire Council and the Port of Airlie developers to limit the building heights to the legally accepted level for foreshore structures, instead of the planned six metre rise in the ground level with five storeys on top of that. This latter plan creates an enormous wall around Muddy Bay from the sailing club to the sportspark, cutting off air movement and light from that side of the famously low-rise centre of town. (see illustration)

The Whitsunday Way

The "Whitsunday Way" vision was an initiative of the Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce. It encompasses whole of the official main road called the Proserpine-Shute Harbour Road. The name Whitsunday Way is now accepted by both the Department of Main Roads and Whitsunday Shire Council as an alternative name for this road.

In July 2001, in response to community acceptance of the Whitsunday Way vision, the Whitsunday Shire Council adopted a "No Traffic Lights" in the Whitsunday Shire.

Unfortunately since that time, and in spite of this policy, traffic lights have been installed at both the Paluma Rd and Island Drive intersections with the Whitsunday Way.

More information on the Whitsunday Way

The new local council has now dropped its support of the Whitsunday Way.

Funnel Bay:

See what they hope to do to Funnel Bay with $500m at Resort Corp's website.

Resort Corp also has a development planned for Airlie itself - Santai Airlie Beach.

Bowen's Keela Valley and wetlands

See photographs of the Keela Valley and wetlands to be lost to an aluminium refinery if current proposals succeed. Stand by for the Bowen Residents Action Association website.