A Tweed group says that last week’s withdrawal of a proposal for an aquatic theme park at Jack Evans Boat Harbour (JBEH) may just have been tactical following the release of an Expressions of Interest document by Tweed Shire Council.
A week ago the Save Jack Evans Boat Harbour Committee, which has been fighting the Aquasplash proposal from day one, told Echonetdaily the proponent had withdrawn its proposal for what amounts to a Gold Coast style theme park for the sleepy Tweed harbour.
But almost simultaneously with that withdrawal, TSC issued an Expression of Interest document specifically aimed at attracting water-based activities to the same site.
Save Jack Evans Boat Harbour secretary Stephanie Deane says the 50-page document looks like it has been compiled with Aquasplash in mind.
Ms Deane said the document ‘calls for tenders to commercialise open public space with no public consultation.’
‘With council elections due in September and Council going into caretaker mode in August, it seems that Council is trying to rush this through prior to the next election,’ Ms Deane said.
‘We suspect Aquaspalsh are just waiting to see who and what competitors might appear before putting their hand in their pocket to proceed with application fees etc.
‘It appears that Aquasplash were informed of the release date for tenders, I wonder how many other businesses had this advantage,’ she said.
While the EOI document says that ‘participation in this…process, and advancement to any stage of the evaluation and approvals process, short of the actual granting of the licence by Council, will not confer on any bidder any guarantee or implied guarantee of the success or approval of their offer,’ Ms Deane believes that Aquasplash ‘are well advanced in the process, having received a letter of support from Council thanks to Crs Polglase, Byrne and Youngblutt.
‘Aquasplash are also well advanced with their application within DPI Crown Lands, as it was being advanced through the CL system in early April, weeks before receiving a letter of support from Council.
One might ask if this is a level playing field for other companies that might want to put in a tender.
The bidding document says a licence could be issued for ‘up to five years’.
It continues, ‘Council may elect to include a no-obligation trial period within the licence terms whereby the successful bidder (or bidders if more than one complementary offer is selected) will be given a limited opportunity to operate its proposed venture on JEBH, either in its full extent or in a limited capacity.
‘It is anticipated that any such trial period would occur between November 2016 and March 2017.’
Ms Deane believes this is a giveaway that the document is aimed at Aquasplash.
‘Council are hoping that any trial period would occur from November to March. Aquaspalsh seems to be the only company that could meet that timeframe,’ she said.
How can this behemoth be stopped?
The plans that were briefly presented for council and public perusal before the councillors voted to support this were misleading, they omitted showing additional areas of parkland that will be stolen from public use.
The disabled access will be blocked.
The so called Environment report has been discredited and consequently withdrawn by the person who wrote the report for Aquasplash (and council).
In other words we the ratepayers have been duped.
The councillors should rescind their support if they have any morals.
National Party Councillors voted for it and their State colleagues won’t save us from it.
Unlikely that Mr. Fraser would help if elected. ??
I hope that any new Council candidates standing for election possess a conscience.
Google “Conscience” – a person’s moral sense of right and wrong, viewed as acting as a guide to one’s behaviour.