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Byron Shire
January 18, 2022

Tweed council set to back quest for aquatic fun park

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The Aquasplash fun park at Southport on the Gold Coast. Image Aquasplash website.
The Aquasplash fun park at Southport on the Gold Coast. Image Aquasplash website.

Luis Feliu

Tweed Shire Council is set to support the operators of an inflatable aquatic fun park to continue their quest to establish a trial of the controversial facility at Jack Evans Boat Harbour in Tweed Heads.

But residents around the harbour are fuming about the plan by the owners of Aquasplash, fearing the facility would impact heavily on traffic in the busy CBD area as well as marine life in the harbour (see previous Echonetdaily report at https://www.echo.net.au/2016/04/fears-raised-over-aquatic-fun-park-at-tweed-heads/)

Next Thursday, council will consider a request from the operators for a letter of support to establish the recreation facility for a trial period in the harbour between November this year and March next year.

The letter is needed so the business can apply for a Crown Land licence for the activity, which will also require development consent from council and approvals from the Department of Primary Industry (Lands), the Jack Evans Boat Harbour Trust and council as managers of the harbour.

The shire’s chief planner Vince Connell says council’s indication of support ‘does not pre-empt the statutory processes’, but concerned locals say it paves the way for the business, which runs similar facilities at Southport and Airlie Beach in Queensland, to eventually gain approval.

Mr Connell said in his report that council would still need to conduct a tender process to give other commercial operators an equal opportunity to use the harbour, but has recommended providing the Aquasplash operators the letter of conditional support.

He said that any future development application must include evidence of consultation with residents of the residential tower Seascape overlooking the harbour, the adjoining Twin Towns Services Club and Centro Shopping Centre, as well as the Tweed Heads Residents Association, Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce and Big Trev Water Sports, which runs a small watercraft hire business on the harbour.

Mr Connell also placed further conditions on his recommendation for the trial sought by Aquasplash, including a marine expert’s assessment of impacts on the waterway as well as a car parking and traffic analysis.

Resident John Mync, who lives nearby, told Echonetdaily that the operator ‘is reported to say that 50,000 visitors would use the enterprise, this number of people would dominate the area and there are not enough facilities to cope’.

Mr Mync, the secretary of the body corporate of his block of units in Bay Street near the harbour, said the proposal was unsuitable as on-street parking was ‘already inadequate and it would cause further traffic congestion’.

He said residents had started lobbying council about their opposition to the facility, as he’d heard that  majority councillors were set to vote in favour of allowing the trial.

Conservative Cr Warren Polglase has proposed similar aquatic activities for the harbour before, but progressive councillors then had the numbers to stop the move.

However, the pro-development faction Cr Polglase leads now has the majority to push it through, with a reduced five-member council instead of the usual seven. He is supported by National Party colleagues Crs Carolyn Byrne and Phil Youngblutt, as well as Cr Barry Longland.

Mayor Katie Milne (from the Greens) is absent due to illness and former Labor Cr Michael Armstrong quit last year as he had to move away temporarily to look after his father who had a terminal illness.

As a result, the progressives have dwindled in numbers to just two, deputy mayor Gary Bagnall and Cr Milne.

 

 

 

 


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4 COMMENTS

  1. This is a ridulous proposal. Council is due to discuss this matter on the 21st April Following a community access session where residents can present their case on this issue. Typical TSC has already decided to give approval before the scheduled meeting. What a farce! With both State and Council elections this year, this will become an election issue in this area, you can count on that.

  2. There are a number of concerned residents, not just Seascape.
    Not suitable in the JEBH. Council just wants to make some $$ from it.

  3. I just looked at the

    Aquasplash website where the Southport Aquasplash is, it has so much more room than a very small confined harbour, at Tweed inlet, this harbour where the proposal is, is so much smaller and surrounded by Residential living and an RSL Club.

    Southport has no building close to it they all are across the main highway.

    Keep it at Southport this is not a place for expansion.

  4. I live opposite JEBH and I have seen recent publicity for the proposed Aquasplash Park mooted for JEBH and I wish to register in the strongest terms possible my objection to this proposed development.

    Council has been commended and should continue to be commended on the improvements to the foreshore around JEBH. This has been turned into a world class facility for residents and visitors alike. It has been particularly pleasing to see the area constantly used for family picnics and gatherings. I am greatly concerned that the peaceful family nature of the JEBH precinct would be changed for the worse should approval for the Aquasplash project be approved.

    I implore council to consider the following serious concerns. The area is currently utilised by various residents and visitors who utilise the park for and harbour areas for:

    Fishing
    Snorkelling
    SUP – stand up paddle boards
    Kayaks
    Motor boats and sailing boats moor in the harbour
    NYE and festive occasions – fireworks
    Big Trev’s Watersports already utilises a significant area.
    Dragon Boat races
    Nipper training
    Recreational swimmers constantly swim all directions across the harbour

    A park the size of the Southport Aquaslpash would impinge on the current residents and visitors who utilise the park. The family picnic would go as there would be no parking available. Fishing would cease as marine life would be disturbed by the park. Genaral access to the water would be limited with the park and the current BIg Trev’s Watersports dominating the foreshore.

    As it is there is currently a distinct lack of parking for the patrons who use JEBH and as a resident I already find it difficult some weekends to even park anywhere near my residence and there are the same issues on the other side of the park – very limited parking. I am sure the Tweed Centro shopping Centre has no wish for its car parking to be utilised by JEBH patrons. This would impact severely on the centre’s profitability.

    Then there is the issue of noise. This is JEBH is surrounded by residents who are Tweed rate payers and as such we have a right to a peaceful existence. I request that the Tweed Councillors attend the current Aquasplash at Southport to experience the shrieking, yelling and general noise that emanates from the park. This would impact severely on the residents for the whole of the operating hours.

    I also believe it would severely impact on the marine life that currently exists in JEBH and would certainly discourage any new marine life which in turn impacts on many of the activities that currently take place on and around JEBH.

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