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Footpath fiasco finally over

Coolum traders, residents and visitors rejoiced this weekwhen a temporary walkway was opened in front of the Watpac site.  Photo: Mike Garry/scw1520a
Coolum traders, residents and visitors rejoiced this weekwhen a temporary walkway was opened in front of the Watpac site. Photo: Mike Garry/scw1520a

Coolum’s footpath farce is finally over – well, until August anyway.

Following this paper’s story last week about councillor Vivien Griffin’s frustration with the stalemate between developer Watpac, the Main Roads department and the council, Watpac opened a temporary pedestrian walkway in front of its esplanade development site.

But while traders and residents are delighted access on the western side of the David Low has been finally restored, they are puzzled why the footpath took three months to “construct”.

Coolum Beach Cellars owner Bill Doyle, who was at the forefront of the fight to restore safe pedestrian access, said all Watpac had done was move traffic barriers out on to the road.

“When you look at it, it makes you wonder why it took three months,” Mr Doyle said.

Mr Doyle also questioned why the walkway needed to be closed on August 1 as previously advised by Watpac.

“Why would it have to be closed … when it’s on the road?”

Ms Griffin did not wish to blame anyone for the delay but acknowledged “the perseverance of the businesses and resorts on Beach Road and south that have doggedly pursued a better outcome than the original”.

She said she had “learnt a strong lesson in oversighting proposed construction management plans and their impact on existing businesses”.

“There has now been a clear council decision that instead of the operation works just being signed off by officers, because of the impact on communities and adjacent businesses, that now goes to the divisional councillor for approval,” she said.

“That I think is a really important lesson that as a council we’ve taken on board.”

Watpac would not comment on the delay but released a statement this week:

“Watpac is pleased to have reopened the footpath surrounding our Coolum Beach retail site for community use, and we are looking forward to continuing with construction, so as to have the new centre open for business in time for the Christmas holidays.”


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