Decline of Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach main street shops decline in numbers as business disappear. Empty shop fronts litter the main street of Airlie Beach as business moves out of town. High rents blamed for decline in trade.

Only one bank still remaining in Airlie Beach, as the Commonwealth Bank moved to Cannonvale to join Westpac and ANZ. A prosperous town should include financial institutions.

Airlie Beach Business Closed

KFC have closed. Whoever heard of a fast food joint closing in a tourist town? McDonalds still seems to be doing good business, but they are also open 24/7.

Jamaica Joe's restaurant, above Hog's Breath Cafe, closed in July 2009, with the owner, Don Algie's nephew Aaryn Algie and family, moving to Cairns. The Jamaica Joe's in Townsville and Cairns continue. A decline in visitor numbers is a factor, and a shift in the perceived central business area away from Airlie Beach.

Popular Baskin Robbins ice cream closed in November 2010, after store franchise owner Trish Herlein was locked out. Whitsunday Times reporter Courtney Garnham reported Allied Brands was now in Administration, and had not paid rent on to landlord Clint Coker. Baskin Robbins franchise owner is reported to be looking for a better price on premises.

Whitsunday Enterprise claimed in November 2010 that there were 38 empty shopfronts in the main street of Airlie Beach. They blame high rents in the main street. A traders association formed in March 2011, seeking relief from high rentals. They also have good ideas, like beautifying empty shopfronts with temporary murals and signs. Having the main street of Airlie Beach look deserted does no good to anyone, including the people seeking high rents.

Business Moves Out of Airlie Beach

Only one bank branch remains in Airlie Beach, as the Commonwealth Bank moves to Cannonvale to join Westpac and ANZ.

Lawyers and solicitors were once present in Airlie Beach. What happened to them? Moved to Cannonvale and Jubilee Pocket.

Airlie Beach Property

The GFC brought with in falls in the sales of property. This decline continued in the 2010 financial year. RP Data says that while Townsville and Mackay have suffered, Cairns and the Whitsundays had major declines. In 2011, Cairns median house prices were down 17.3% from the highs, while the Whitsundays was down 13.3%. Unit prices were even worse, with Cairns median unit prices down 28.8%, and Whitsundays down 41.2% from historic highs. Do not believe real estate agents who tell you property prices always rise.

Council Rates

The newly revived Whitsunday Ratepayers Association has increased from 25 members in September 2010 to 182 members in November 2010. Rates rises have been ludicrous at a time when land values have not increased. Mayor Mike Brunker of Whitsunday Council has suggested rates would rise hundreds of per cent due to $140 million of water and sewerage upgrades planned.

Taxis Leave Airlie Beach

Whitsunday cabs are managed by Mackay Taxis. Now the regular local Whitsunday taxi drivers are absolutely great. However instead of having the calls for cabs go through a local office in Cannonvale, phone bookings are now (March 2011) handled by Mackay (200 km south), with any overflow going to Townsville (300 km north). Local knowledge is getting lost, and I am not convinced that GPS mapping systems make up for that loss. I am often in Townsville, at Carlyle Gardens, and I know our details of how to find our home (not on the GPS system) do not get passed through to drivers.