Council Flip-Flops on Water Fun Park at Jack Evans

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Tweed Shire Council has moved to pour cold water over a proposal to establish an inflatable fun park at Jack Evans Boat Harbour at Tweed Heads as community opposition to the park continues to grow.

Councillors at the last council meeting voted by a narrow 3:2 majority to provide a letter of support to AquaSplash, the company behind the proposal seeking to establish a children’s water park similar to that at the Broadwater on the Gold Coast.

A development application would still need to be lodged and would be subject to Crown Lands and the Department of Primary Industries approval, as well as a council development application and tender process.

However, a rescission motion against the letter has since been lodged, with councillors Barry Longland, Gary Bagnall and Mayor Katie Milne – who remains away on sick leave – opposed to the development.

Council’s General Manager Troy Green said the letter of support to be debated at the next council meeting would advise the company it could continue to investigate the concept and any approvals required but would not provide exclusive use of the harbour.

“Council will not give exclusive use of (the harbour) without a public tender process to provide other prospective tenderers the opportunity to put forward proposals to activate the space,” MrGreen said.

Cr Longland said he objected to the floating theme park, which is proposed to take up 25m x 50m of surface area (or 3.3%), with a 4.5m beach entry on the northern edge of the harbour.

He recommended another location, such as the Tweed River off Dry Dock Rd, be used instead.

“There are natural attributes to the harbour that provide a really nice entry to our shire and AquaSplash would damage that natural vista,” CrLongland said.

“The mayor couldn’t have a say, which prompted me to go to a rescission motion and she gave her support to do that.

“That doesn’t mean it will be passed, as Katie Milne is ill and it may come back to council before she’s back.

“This is a process that has a long way to go yet before we see anything in the harbour.”

The proposal has drawn strong opposition from local residents and prompted the reformation of former lobby group Save Jack Evans Boat Harbour. JEBH chairman Richard Mason, said the committee had reformed for the first time in 10 years to fight the proposal, submitting a 213-signature petition against it at last week’s council meeting.

Mr Mason said while the group understood the development application process was still required before the facility was approved, it was concerned AquaSplash “got this first step” with no community consultation.

“Our biggest concern is that the process is completely flawed, it hasn’t been democratic,” Mr Mason said.

“The wording is they’ll put it out to tender, so they want to sell off the boat harbour. I don’t think they have the right to do that before asking us in the first place.”

AquaSplash owner Matthew Devine was hopeful he would have support from the community through the development application process.

Source: Tweed Daily

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