Tourists loving Kingscliff
KINGSCLIFF'S controversial Marine Pde was packed with holidaymakers this week shopping, eating and making their way to and from the beach.
"Kingscliff is buzzing", said Debbie Allen, the owner of Boardwalk Books, as customers lined up to buy reading matter for their holidays.
"Both pre-Christmas and post-Christmas trade has been very good," Ms Allen said. "There are plenty of holidaymakers here, plenty of people from out of town."
The new pub had helped draw people to the beachfront strip, Ms Allen said, because it had been tastefully done and was now an attractive venue.
As to the argument about converting the parade into a one-way street, she said that locals generally didn't like the change, but that visitors were very happy about it.
While the one-way system could make deliveries and courier pick-ups awkward, the opening up of the area in front of her shop "more than compensated for that", she said.
Another happy retailer was Rosie Richards, owner of Raggedy Anne Boutique, who said her fashion and accessory store had been very well supported by locals this season.
"I saw many more people making that choice this year and it's amazing when that happens. It's a conscious decision to buy local, to support local designers and manufacturers."
Kingscliff had "lots of little shops to come to", which attracted women from the Gold Coast to visit for lunch and a day's shopping.
"That's a change from previous years," said Ms Richards, who has owned the shop for seven years.
There had been a marked shift in the clientele in the past couple of years, she said, with more affluent people coming from nearby resorts such as Salt and Drift, and fewer camping spots in the caravan park.
But Ms Richards said she was not so pleased with the delay in creating beach access for visitors.
"The beach is a big part of tourists' experience. If they can't access it, they're going to remember that.
"It was like this last summer too and means people can't just walk off the beach and come across here. I hope it's going to be fixed for Easter."
And the removal of the playground across from her shop had left a "dead zone", she said.
"It used to be an amazing space, where mums and bubs would play and then pop over for a coffee and a browse."
She also said she was in favour of a two-hour limit on parking in the parade.
"Sometimes tourists can't get a park. Kingscliff has become a holiday destination quite rapidly; it's changed in just a few years.
"We have to adapt to that change."