Mangrove boardwalk carpark closure won’t impact Cairns Airport pickups
The closure of the Jack Barnes Mangrove Boardwalk carpark won’t stop motorists ‘standing by’ to pick up plane passengers, according to Cairns Airport.
Cairns Regional Council, which leases the land from the airport, closed the boardwalk and carpark indefinitely this week for safety reasons.
Many people use the carpark to stop and wait for flights to arrive.
A spokeswoman for Cairns Airport told Tropic Now an alternative site was set up late last year for standby purposes.
“If people are waiting to collect arriving passengers, the Standby Zone is the area available where people can safely wait in their vehicle for passengers to arrive,” she said.
“They can wait there for 30 minutes for free.”
She’s encouraging people to follow the orange Standby Zone signage, which directs motorists to Gypsy Moth Drive.
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BOARDWALK FUTURE ON SHAKY GROUND
The Jack Barnes Mangrove Boardwalk was built as part of a bicentennial project in 1988 and has become popular amongst birders and tourists.
It’s been closed for a safety assessment.
Division 5 Councillor, Richie Bates, has raised questions around its maintenance.
“I don’t think we’ve put the kind of money in to maintain it as there obviously needs to be,” he said.
“Tour groups and the like use it, it’s a popular viewing platform for people to witness the mangrove area but it’s been in a state of disrepair and it wouldn’t have got the kind of visitation it could have if it was in a good condition.”
Cr Bates said he’s concerned the Council won’t agree to funding repairs.
“Council needs to come forward and have some decisive action or a decisive intent about what they want to do about this,” he said.
“I think there’s still some strong support for the boardwalk but to get the boardwalk back up to scratch will require a significant investment.”
Acting Mayor Terry James told Tropic Now an average of $20,000 a year has been spent on maintaining the boardwalk since it opened.
“However, all materials deteriorate over time,” Cr James said.
“The boardwalk is constructed predominately of timber and is in a mangrove environment, which after more than 30 years has deteriorated to a point where it is presently unsafe for use.
“In addition, standards of boardwalks have changed significantly since this boardwalk was built three decades ago.”
Council is engaging a consultant to determine options for the boardwalk's future.