Council to splash the cash: $11 million on Esplanade
THE Fraser Coast Regional Council will again splash the cash on the Hervey Bay Esplanade, spending $11 million to build waterslides and new infrastructure.
With the exception of rural councillor James Hansen, the councillors unanimously endorsed a five-year vision to develop the region's natural strip.
At the public consultation phase more than 400 people had their say on the ambitious plans to "further enhance" the space.
While smaller projects such as pathway upgrades and interpretive signage could be installed soon, large projects like a waterslide at Wetside and LED screens would take longer to order.
Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell called on the State and Federal Governments to financially back the council's plans.
"We need to go looking for other funding," he said.
"It's not all ratepayer funded.
"It's about getting contributions."
Cr O'Connell said he was "ruling out one way traffic" with the majority of submissions against the proposal.
The plan has drawn denigration from Cr Hansen, who claimed the money could be better spent.
The Mayor again refuted Cr Hansen's criticism.
"I find very few people who would say it's not important," Cr O'Connell 0said.
"This financial year $55 million year will be spent on infrastructure across the region.
"$6.5 million on rural roads - it is about prioritising spend."
In August a Chronicle investigation revealed the council had spent more than $8 million on the Esplanade since 2012.
Cr O'Connell said the spend would validate the future direction of the natural space.
"It is enhancement, it's not overdevelopment - it's enhancement of a great asset," he said.
"Nearly everybody I speak to talks about how important that precinct is.
"The over-riding message I got was they wanted us to keep progressing on."
WIN Projects managing director Glen Winney praised the council for planning for the future.
"In general the overall master plan is pretty good as a whole," he said.
"But now is time to implement some things.
"It is our main tourist attraction so to have a vibrant lively Esplanade is essential."
Mr Winney, the owner of Seafront in Pialba said more activities the council could get for older teenagers would be welcomed.