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Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Aquasplash drops Jack Evans Boat Harbour proposal

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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.

Chris Dobney

A commercial children’s holiday activity that opponents say would have ‘virtually blocked off the northern beach and foreshore’ of Jack Evans Boat Harbour, turning it into a ‘Gold Coast style theme park’ has been withdrawn.

The controversial plan by Aquasplash, which runs a similar event on the Gold Coast, ran into stiff opposition from the outset, with local group Save Jack Evans Boat Harbour (SJEBH) taking a leading role.

Last month Echonetdaily revealed that the plan to take over a large section of harbour had been sitting on the desk of a Crown Lands staff member weeks before it was put before Tweed Shire Council.

Crown Lands notified the council last Friday that ‘the applicant has withdrawn his request for a licence from DPI-Lands as such the matter will not be proceeding.’

SJEBH spokesperson Stephanie Deane said the group had obtained documents from Crown Lands via GIPA (freedom of information requests) including ‘site plans which showed Aquasplash would virtually have blocked off the northern beach and foreshore for their exclusive use.’

‘Site offices, tents, etc would have been located on the beach foreshore and an access passageway created through the beach out to the inflatable equipment.  All of their facilities would have had a security perimeter fence,’ Ms Deane said.

‘Aquasplash estimated they needed 30 car spaces per one-hour session.  In reality 60 spaces would be needed, with another 30 vehicles needing to park prior to the next session starting,’ she added.

Ms Deane said Aquasplash had stated they wouldn’t need to provide portaloos ‘as they would utilise the existing toilet facilities.’

‘In other words Tweed residents would have lost the use of the northern beach and foreshore area and a large section of the harbour, the disabled access ramp would have been compromised, a large number of car spaces would have been taken over and toilet facilities would have been under pressure to cope with up to 90 Aquasplash users per hour.

‘It is beyond belief that councillors Polglase, Byrne and Youngblutt thought this venture was in the best interests of Tweed residents and councillors should be reminded that community consultation should occur before voting to approve letters of support to ventures that would have a major impact on open public spaces,’ she said.

Ms Deane said that pressure from community groups and individuals who wrote to council and signed petitions undoubtedly had an impact on the outcome.


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9 COMMENTS

  1. Good riddance, I hope this sort of “sneak in through the back door” rubbish never happens again.
    Shame Shame Councillors.
    Glad the election is soon but how do we know which new candidates will do this again?

  2. I don’t get this, at a time when we should be encouraging kids to get outside and actively play, a group like ‘Save Jack Evans Boat Harbour’ think they know what everyone wants.
    I highly doubt that the majority of Tweed residents didn’t want this, sounds like the vocal minority wins again, sorry kids.

    • Aquaspalsh is not a children’s holiday playground. If you look at their website it’s geared more to teenagers and adults. There site states, “by its nature Aquasplash can be dangerous and cause injuries”.
      Aquasplash wanted a foot in the door with a three month trial leading to them operating from September to April which is eight months not a few weeks over school holidays. This is their trading period at Southport.
      Also it’s NOT A FREE playground for kids to play on. It costs $12 per 50 minute session and $15 for the over 17 years of age. It was NOT a small minority that had issues with this venture. Voices had been raised by individuals and community groups from all over Tweed Shire. If Council wants to encourage additional use of the harbour area they should consider expanding the children’s playground with some adventure type play equipment and revisit the artificial reef idea to create a snorkelling attraction.
      Stephanie Deane

  3. Tweed Resident has missed the whole point of this entire experience.
    Three Councillors (silent majority of three) tried to get this proposal through Council without
    consulting the community; especially those that would be directly affected.
    Council should actually ask residents how they would like to see the Boat Harbour developed and perhaps then
    we would see a development that is accepted by the community.
    Tweed Resident may not be aware that more than 300 people signed a petition to stop this development as well as another 200 on an on – line petition. While this is not a majority it is certainly more than the 3 councillors who supported this proposal in the first place.

    • If you’re all so sure that Tweed residents don’t want this, then let Aquasplash set up and they’ll loose money and close it down. It appears likely that a trial period is going to go ahead anyway, we’ll wait and see.

  4. If the majority of Tweed citizens are in favour of the Aqua splash proposal a hefty majority are keeping it to themselves. Residents have every right to question or support developments in their neighborhood. Claiming majority support without any evidence won’t win any argument.

  5. Looks like Jack Evan Boat Harbour will remain a wonderful, serene place for ALL to enjoy. Kids of all ages welcome: paddle, swim, fish, play.

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