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Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

Is this Tweed’s invasion of the theme parks?

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An artist’s impression of the crane-hoisted ‘Dinner in the Sky’ concept planned for Jack Evans Boat Harbour. Image Tweed Shire Council

Luis Feliu

Hot on the heels of a controversial proposal for an inflatable fun park the showpiece Jack Evans Boat Harbour in downtown Tweed Heads, comes a plan for a ’restaurant in the sky’ business at the harbour.

The themed activity involves diners being hoisted on a crane above the waterway for their five-star meal.

The operators of the temporary popup restaurant/amusement business ‘Dinner in the Sky’ have sought a letter of support from Tweed Shire Council for the activity to be run for 12 days later this year on the Crown Land foreshore.

Councillors will debate the request at tomorrow night’s meeting at the new council administration building in Brett Street, Tweed Heads from 5pm.

The latest theme-park style proposal for the harbour follows a recent multi-million-dollar revamp of the harbour foreshore and its facilities, with federal taxpayer and local ratepayer money used.

The beautification has made the harbour precinct one of the most popular in the NSW-Queensland border area.

In turn, the influx of people has spurred a flurry of new business proposals for the harbour, with the Gold-Coast based inflatable fun park business Aquasplash recently given council green light to try to obtain a licence from the state government which controls the area.

The chief executive of Events in the Sky earlier this month wrote to council managers seeking support to establish a temporary ‘Dinner in the Sky’ activity at Jack Evans Boat Harbour in mid 2016.

Council staff say the plan involves the use of a crane, and elevated dining platform, an ‘amusement device’,
marquee and kitchen facilities.

The concept has been running for nearly 10 years in Australia and overseas.

Council, as owners and or managers of Jack Evans Boat Harbour would have to conduct a tender process for any other commercial proponents to use the area before committing to any individual operator.

The owner of the Dinner in the Sky concept told council it had run similar events  in Sydney, Newcastle and Bathurst, but that in those areas they had not ‘ been required to submit a Development Application’.

‘We have been required to make application for a Section 68 Temporary Structures Permit and various other compliance elements like, Food Safety, Electrical certification and Amusement Device inspections,’ the chief executive, ‘Jac’, said in the email to council.

‘On a typical day, we have a definite maximum number of guests per day 132. We wish to operate for 9 days 9 x 132 = 1,188.

‘At any one time, no more than 50 people are onsite. Our hours of operation would normally be 10.3 am to 10pm.

‘We play gentle lounge music, and operate as a relaxed fine dining venue.
‘Alcohol is served via a set menu offering, so RSA [responsible service of alcohol] is ensured.

‘There are no transactions onsite, Guests pay online and offsite prior to attendance.’

‘Our event setup is a fully enclosed safety area, containing the crane and Amusement device, and an adjoining Meet and Greet lounge (Hired Marquee) as well as a fully compliant shipping container based commercial kitchen.

‘Since we host only 132 people per day, operate inside of normal trading hours, do not cause any disruption to nearby businesses and are a compliant AS3533 Amusement Device, we would very much like to be considered a Medium sized event under Council and avoid the lengthy DA process.

‘Councils Major Events Application states that 1,500 or more people define Major Event, however the total number of Guests we will host is 1,188 over a 9 day period.

‘The object of opening for a short period of trade at Tweed Heads is to begin a road show type of medium term business operations, whereby Dinner in the Sky can attract guests and incorporate regional suppliers and providers and chef talent,’ Jac said.

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  1. Thank goodness it’s only twelve days. Of course the three joined at the hip Coincillors Polglase, Byrne and Youngblutt will vote to approve a letter of support. What else would you expect? By the time public tenders are called for various activities for the JEBH residents will be lucky if there is any harbour or parkland left for them to use. There is an online petition at change.org to try and save the JEBH.

  2. Yes Stephanie, it is a Polglase sanctioned event. I pity those in the units surrounding the event. The sound of a crane lifting up and down all day is bound to be anything but quiet. Of course Polglase and his pro-development buddies Cr Byrne and Cr Youngblutt supported the idea. Only Crs Bagnall and Longland were against. If Mayor Milne were present it would have been interesting to see which way Cr Longland voted.


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