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Divide over 'revolting' problem at popular Aussie tourist hotspot

The town which recently won the state’s Top Small Tourism Town award has attracted criticism.

A popular resort town in Queeenland's north is known for its picturesque beaches and stunning views — but there's a problem on the horizon according to some locals.

Airlie Beach — also known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef — has been a thriving tourist hot spot for some time. However, the "revolting" Main Street is in dire need of a facelift.

The main issue, according to one local councillor, is the "tatty" old pavers that line the street which attracts thousands of tourists visit each year due to its large offering of eateries and retail stores. The pavers were installed 10 years ago without a sealant to protect them and are now reportedly cracked, stained and in need of an update. "They're really quite revolting," Councillor Jan Clifford said, Courier Mail reports.

Save our Foreshore president Suzette Pelt claims the Whitsunday Regional Council is scrimping on maintenance, forcing business owners to take it upon themselves to fix the "grubby" street with has not been "properly maintained". What's more, locals have resorted to planting more trees themselves.

Two photos of Main street at Airlie Beach/
The President of the Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce doesn't think the state of the pavement on Main St at Airlie Beach is as big of an issue its being made out to be. Source: Getty/Google Maps (Getty/Google Maps)

Local councillor 'surprised at the fuss'

But not everyone agrees with the need to revamp the area, including Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce President, Allan Milostic who said he's "surprised at the fuss" made by the "appearance of a few pavers".

"I work in Airlie Beach every day and cannot recall the last time a visitor to the area made a negative comment about the state of the main street," he told Yahoo News Australia.

"Naturally, improvements can always be made, and yes there are some issues with the choice of pavers and the lack of sealing, but I am confident these will be appropriately addressed as all stakeholders have high standards they wish to uphold."

A photo of the pavement on Main Street at Airlie Beach.
The pavement on Main Street at Airlie Beach has been described as worse for wear. Source: Getty/Google Maps (Getty/Google Maps)

The street is subject to high traffic flow so is "becoming more difficult to maintain at the highest of standards that we would all like" he added. "Council is making efforts to maintain and repair where needed," he said.

There are 'bigger' problems at play

Given the "stunning" town and region attracts many people, Mr Milostic believed a "lack of both short and long term accommodation" is a "much bigger problem" that needs to be addressed.

"The primary concern for both business owners and residents is the need for the council and state government to adopt a forward-thinking, long-term plan beyond the scope of mere election periods," he said. "It is imperative that all levels of government are committed to meeting the growing demand for services."

He did however agree that "it's time for an upgrade and perhaps a redesign" of Main Street and Airlie Beach in general. Yahoo News Australia has gotten in touch with WRC for comment.

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