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Cyclone-hit Cardwell to reveal $40m foreshore facelift

By Jessica Nairn, Kirsty Nancarrow and Isobel Roe, Monday November 11, 2013 - 08:50 EDT

The small community of Cardwell in far north Queensland devastated by Cyclone Yasi will tomorrow officially unveil its $40 million foreshore redevelopment.

Cardwell, between Townsville and Cairns, copped the full brunt of the category five cyclone when it swept across the coast in February 2011.

The cyclone ripped up trees and destroyed homes.

Cardwell's foreshore disappeared when it was swallowed by the storm surge that accompanied five cyclone, leaving yachts piled up like toy boats.

Almost three years on, the town has been transformed and tomorrow Cardwell will officially unveil its revamped foreshore.

The infrastructure along the foreshore has been built to withstand another cyclone.

The Dunk Island and Clump point jetties have been replaced.

'Milestone for the community'

Residents say they are proud of the town's recovery.

Amelia Slade, from the town's visitor centre, says the new look beachfront is a dramatic improvement.

"With playgrounds and barbecues and amphitheatres and all different gym equipment, all different types of aspects that we didn't have before," she said.

"Having this particular asset for Cardwell gives families that free entertainment, that walk along the foreshore, that vibe of having fun again. "

She says the new foreshore will help encourage more tourists to spend longer in the town.

Cardwell artist Daryl Dickson was involved in the redevelopment and drew inspiration from discussions with the town's long-term residents.

Mr Dickson says it is a milestone for the community.

"I hope that we've been able to incorporate things that tell the story of Cardwell in its own pictures and its own words," he said.

"The islands are still there, my ocean's still there - I guess maybe that's the thing.

"We need to sort of look at the things that we've still got here - we're so lucky.

"The new structure along the foreshore has incorporated, through involvement by artists and the people that are interested in history in our community, as many things as we can to tell the story."

Hope new foreshore will bring closure to residents

Cardwell Chamber of Commerce chairman Lindsey Hallam says he hopes tomorrow's foreshore reopening will bring life back into the town.

Mr Hallam says the new foreshore has lifted everyone's spirits.

"It's absolutely fantastic - it's a five-kilometre long stretch along our town," he said.

"There are areas like our jetty plaza, which is in the centre of town, which will be the centrepiece of the celebrations tomorrow, but also will be the centrepiece for a lot of functions going forward.

"Some of the real characters of the town still really haven't got their spark back - there'll be a trigger at some stage that will bring the spark back.

"We're hoping the actual event of tomorrow where we say 'at long last here it is, this is the official opening' - we're hoping that some of the people that have still got individual issues, this will be closure for them."

Cassowary Coast Mayor Bill Shannon says the Cardwell community has endured a lot since the cyclone disaster and interruptions while rebuilding.

"There's just so much that's been done there that it just really looks spectacular," he said.

He says the recovery projects are helping the region's economy.

"It's been a pretty good season in fact - I think, this last tourist season, for domestic tourism in particular," he said.

"Cardwell has done quite well out of that, as has the whole Cassowary Coast, so I'm sure that it can only get better from here."


© ABC 2013

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