Wednesday, August 22

Whitsunday Regional Council reconsiders Havengrand

Mayor Jennifer Whitney has announced that Whitsunday Regional Council will be considering its options for Havengrand, the 96.05 hectares of land off Shute Harbour Road in Mt Marlow purchased for $2.1 million by the previous council as a site for a sports park. 
The mayor’s comments come after council resolved to invite tenders for the sale of the land, just weeks after it was announced that it would be inviting tenders for the lease of the land. Council has confirmed that the tenders received for the lease are on hold pending the outcome of the tenders for sale.
“At this stage, Council has not had the land revalued since it was purchased,” she said. “A report will go back to Council after the closing of tenders for further consideration and discussion on how best to move forward.”
When contacted by the Whitsunday Coast Guardian, former mayor Mike Brunker opted not to enter the fray; stressing that council is able to sell its own land.
“We were looking towards the future when we purchased the land,” Mr Brunker said. “But it is now council land, and it is council’s business what they do with it.
Community advocate Barb Adamson, who publicly opposed the Havengrand purchase in 2010 and used a council meeting last month to question why council couldn’t sell the land rather than lease it, described the mayor’s announcement as “good news”.
“Selling the land seems like a more sensible solution,” she said. “I’d rather see them sell it so we can get a piece of land that is accessible for everyone in the community.”
“Land was bought for a sports park at Carlo Drive ten years ago, before it was sold,” Ms Adamson said. “Then council bought this land, which was overpriced, and now it’s being sold, too.”
“The process has continually been halted over the years, and we’re still without the promised sports park.
“But from my perspective, this is good news,” she said. “I hope they go ahead and sell the land, so we can get outcome with which the community agrees.”
Mike Porter, Manager of CANEGROWERS Proserpine, said that the local farming community would welcome the sale of Havengrand, permitting that it was bought for agricultural use. 
“We would absolutely support any decision that succeeds in returning good quality agricultural land to the sugar industry,” he said.
“Whether the land is leased or sold, if it’s being used for agricultural purposes, which it’s zoned to do, then it’s a good thing,” Mr Porter said.
Tenders for the sale of the land close 4pm on Monday, 24 September.

Whitsunday Fun Race takes top sailing merit

Just when you thought the Whitsundays couldn’t get any better, after an incredibly successful Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week, along came the Great Whitsunday Fun Race on Saturday.
With light NE 8-10 knot winds and clear blue skies, the sailing conditions were again perfect on Pioneer Bay for the near 50 yachts competing in the 35th Whitsunday Sailing Club’s Fun Race.
Five divisions with two classes saw popular local yacht "Merit" take line honours for another year, ahead of "Reignition" and "Silent Night".
Other popular wins were "Twister" in the 30-40ft Cruising division, "Malice" in the Multihull Racing division and "Oceans Apart" in the Multihull Cruising division. Gaffers and Square Riggers saw three beautiful yachts add colour to the field with "Centurian" coming third, "Emma Jane" second and "Solway Lass" first in that class.
Held in conjunction with the Reef Festival, Airlie Beach was abuzz with a party mood all weekend.
The pirate themed events saw reports of strange sightings of pirates and their wenches all over town.
As part of the fun, skippers were expected to dress their boats and crews and pirates with long hair, swords, bandannas and eye patches were spotted on and off the water.
The overall winner of both the best themed boat and best dressed crew was "Riff Raff" with cannons blasting from all portholes.
The best dressed yacht was won by "Thylacine", a regular participant in this fun sailing event. The team trophy event was won by "British Defender", the prettiest yacht award went to "Tropical Dream" and the yacht from furthest away was won by "Le Tigre" from Fremantle.
Principal Race Officer (PRO) Jim Hayes from the Whitsunday Sailing Club said. "Normally in our weekly races we can have up to about 20 yachts which is a good fleet, so to see so many yachts out on the water on Saturday was just great.
It was perfect conditions and no one got their toes wet!"
The pirate crowd stormed the Sailing Club from 6pm and were entertained by live bands including "AJ" who had everyone up dancing until the clock struck midnight.
The traditional Mr Six Pack competition was hilarious with Nathan Crow from Moranbah blitzing the field of nine buff guys by strapping six empty beer cans to his chest. The competition was a bit tougher for the $500 prize money for the Miss Figurehead places with Rachael Sargent from Airlie Beach taking out first prize.
All results from the racing can be found at while social images will be up on the Sailing Club’s facebook page.

Whitsunday athletes in top form for Airlie Beach Triathlon

It’s goodbye sailors and hello to the triathletes as the focus for Airlie Beach turns towards the 2012 staging of the Sportspower Airlie Beach Triathlon.
Tantalising clashes, new races and course changes herald in a new era for the 14th annual event, and the future looks bright.
Once again, the event has been able to attract a quality field headlined by former winner Sam Betten who showed he’s in good form with a fighting second place at the Capricorn Half Ironman in Yeppoon last weekend.
His main competition will come from another rising star Ryan Fisher who has recently returned from Europe where he spent time with the Australian Olympic team as they prepared for London. Fisher has a win in the Fujifilm Hamilton Island Triathlon on his resume and would love to add this esteemed Airlie Beach title to his list!
The battle for supremacy should make things very interesting for spectators.
A new race has been added to the program with an Enticer distance race now an option for those interested in giving it a ‘tri’ and also to provide a bridge between the highly successful Ergon Energy Junior Tri and the Sprint Distance event.
The shorter distances make the event more achievable for those starting out;with a 350m swim, 10km bike ride and 2.5km run evidently popular with beginners, with a number of hearty locals already entered.
In an attempt to make the event more spectator friendly, even if it’s a little tougher for the athletes, is to introduce a two-loop bike course.
The bike leg will now see athletes turn right from Broadwater Avenue and head out along Shute Harbour Road to the William Murray Drive intersection before returning to transition via Summit Avenue, with Enticer athletes heading in for their run, while the sprint distance athletes head back out for a second lap. Spectators will have a good idea of whether the fast swimmers have been able to stay away or whether their lead has evaporated on the testing cycle!
Local bragging rights are always important but no-one looks likely to get close to emerging star Luke Henry of Proserpine, a member of the Triathlon Queensland Development Squad, more interested to see if he’s starting to bridge the gap on the established stars of the sport.
Online entries close on Thursday night, whilst late entries for the Sportspower Sprint and Enticer triathlons will be possible only on Saturday between 1pm and 5pm at the Airlie Beach Lagoon.
Entering online at makes the whole process easier for athletes and organizers and the take-up online has increased remarkably over the last few years.
Organisers will however be at the Lagoon on Saturday afternoon for Race Number and kit collections as well as the Ergon Junior Triathlon. Strong support from Hamilton Island and Cannonvale Primary should ensure a fun afternoon, with races for all ages of kids and fantastic race packs including race singlets, McDonalds vouchers and goodies just for participating!
Starting out with an Enticer, throwing together a team or pressing your claims for future stardom, the Sportspower Airlie Beach Triathlon has it all in town this weekend.

Quota Whitsunday long lunch a delicacy

President Quota International of Whitsunday Barbara Kinsey has hailed the club’s long lunch, held this weekend at Whitsunday Gold, a success; with 96 locals heading out to Whitsunday Gold on Saturday to support the club.
“We had 96 attendees, which was great to see,” Ms Kinsey said. “It was astounding to see such a strong level of support from the community.
 “We had raffles and auctions, and the attendees loved both the food and the live entertainment, which were both amazing,” she said.
“All the proceeds from our events are pooled together, and at the end of the year, funds are given back to worthwhile local causes.
“The funds raised will go towards out hearing awareness project to take place at the high school in October,” Ms Kinsey said. “The project is aimed at raising awareness in young adults of the dangers of continual loud music, which can have long-lasting damage on their hearing.”
But don’t worry if you missed out on the long lunch, with Ms Kinsey reassuring the Guardian that Quota is gearing up for another must-attend event in the coming weeks.
“Our next event is our cocktail party, which is set to be just as memorable,” Ms Kinsey said.

Thursday, August 9

Whitsunday's feasibility study reels in

After reading through 100 pages of a copy of the feasibility study for the proposed rockwall at the VMR, passionate boat ramp advocate Greg France is more than happy with the outcome.
Despite the long wait for the study into the project, which will improve local boating facilities, Mr France said the study detailed what his committee had proposed all along.
"Running over 100 pages it presents a detailed study of historical wave, wind, and cyclonic patterns since 1959," Mr France said.
"It’s all very in depth and interesting but particularly pleasing in that it doesn’t list any real constraints against building what we’ve proposed all along," he said.
"In its conclusion it then recommends an ‘L shape’ roockwall (that originates to the right of the existing ramp and then goes out 100m then turns left for 75m) that protrudes into the sea.
"Additionally it recommends that the existing ramp be extended by some eight metres in length."
The report came at a good time with the boat ramp committee meeting with Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson at Community Cabinet on Sunday.
"The government and he are very aware of our need for this project to be completed and they understand and agree with the plan," Mr France said.
"The minister was also aware of the progress of the completed report and feasibility study and stated that now since that is complete, that the ball has returned to Whitsunday Regional Council to make a submission to the Queensland Government to get it funded."
Council's Mayor Jennifer Whitney said that she was very pleased to receive the feasibility study for the VMR Boat Ramp last Friday in time for the Community Cabinet.
"I am quietly confident that we will achieve a good result," Mayor Whitney said.
"The State Government, council and the boating community can work together to get the desired result," she said.
Mr France said it is quite a relief to see some good developments in the last few weeks.
"We anticipate we’ll have to wait until the Queensland Government State Budget is delivered in October. We only need to lever $4.5m
(estimated cost) to achieve the VMR plans."

Whitsunday man's golden moment

Like a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, local man Julian Allen has the golden ticket in his hand after finding the winning XXXX Gold bottle which will send him on a magical adventure.
It was just two weeks ago Julian found and held the unique hand-painted XXXX bottle, which is one of 12 released around Australia as part of a competition to win a trip to the XXXX island.
"My mum bought the carton from Thirsty Camel at Centro ... as soon as I saw it, I knew!" Julian said.
The enviable local has won a trip to XXXX island with three friends, valued at $10,000 and as he expecting his first child in November, is holding off the trip-of-a-lifetime till December.
"I'll probably take my nephew, a mate and my father-in-law. The father-in-law doesn't know yet, but he'll find out after reading this story!"
XXXX island, known as Pumpkin Island, is approximately 15 kilometres of Yeppoon and is the perfect sanctuary for a 'man's trip'.
"I'm stoked. It's three nights! I'm a mad fisherman and crabber."
Julian is hoping for good weather and will continue drinking his favourite beverage.
"It's about as good as it gets. It's gold!"
To date, Julian is the only person to find a winning bottle or can with 11 more up for grabs.

Wednesday, August 1

Paralympian flies flag for nation

One of Proserpine’s own will soon be walking admist the best athletes in the world, when the homegrown champion sets off to compete in the 2012 Paralympics.
Already a world champion in cycling, David Nicholas has been preparing mentally and physically for his five events - the 1km individual pursuit, 3km pursuit, C3 Road time trial and road race and team sprint.
In his final week before flying out on August 6, the Guardian was able to catch up with David before he started a 30km light training session up Crystalbrook road late Monday.
He said he has mixed emotions but watching the Olympics this week, with cycling being his favourite sport of course, has brought on excitement for the young gun and having already tested out the track in London earlier this year, David feels a little more relaxed.
He said the road race will be challenging with a few difficult spots including sporadic hills and technical corners.
His father, David Nicholas said despite a bumpy lead up to the Paralympics, his son is in good form and will compete well no matter what.
"He won the world champion title by nine seconds, so every moment counts," Mr Nicholas said.
The homegrown Paralympian leaves next Monday for a training camp in Wales and Newport and will remain overseas for six weeks.
He and his family would like to thank Whitsunday Regional Council for their support including the poster message boards which are located at Faust’s IGA, council, libraries and Centro.
The community can also leave messages of support through the Telstra Hero Message site by clicking paracyling team.