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the northern beach and foreshore’ of Jack Evans Boat Harbour, turning it into a ‘Gold Coast style theme park’ has been withdrawn.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Crown Lands notified the council last Friday that ‘the applicant has withdrawn his request for a licence from DPI-Lands as such the matter will not be proceeding.’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.