A plan by the operator of a large holiday park at Hastings Point to redevelop its water playground with bigger slides has been rejected by Tweed shire councillors who backed objections by neighbours in the coastal village.
Tweed mayor Katie Milne, back at the helm after from three months’ absence due to a life-threatening illness, led the charge to sink the plan at the North Star Holiday Resort and Caravan Park.
The proposed $650,000 works to redevelop the private park’s existing water-slide playground, adjacent to the Tweed Coast Road, involved a new and longer water slide just under 10 metres tall (the maximum height limit for the area) to replace an existing one, as well as installation of another enclosed slide.
Council’s chief planner Vince Connell recommended conditional approval, saying council’s environmental health, building and water unit had raised no objections to the plan, subject to conditions which included screening and time restrictions.
But the mayor and Cr Gary Bagnall called up the plan after hearing numerous objections from residents about how it would affect the amenity of the low-key village.
Residents at Hastings Point for years have fought to maintain the traditional coastal-village character and height limits to avoid over-development of the popular and scenic destination.
Mr Connell said that around 150 public submissions were received during the plan’s exhibition period (many of which objected to the plan).
He said the water slide was solely for residents of the park and their guests and not permitted to be open to the general public, with proposed use between 7am and 8pm daily.
Crs Milne and Barry Longland, in their amendment against approval, said the main reason of objection was that it was an over-development of the site and ‘not in keeping with the low key village scale character’.
The said noise on surrounding residents from the new slide facility would be unacceptable and there would also be environmental harm and visual impacts for neighbours and along the busy Tweed Coast Road.
In its response to public objections, the proponents of the plan, Ladehai Pty Ltd, said the plan would not impact on the village atmosphere of Hastings Point, giving various reasons including the ’huge contribution to the community by employing between 75 and 90 people depending on the time of year’.
‘Tourism is an intensely competitive business not only within our industry but with the wider holiday options available, and to maintain our position we have to continually not only improve our service but also our facilities,’ the proponents said.
‘Caravan parks play a very important and unique role within Australian culture and provide relatively in-expensive holidays for families, particularly those with young children.
‘It is a tragedy that anyone would even consider denying children their years of innocent enjoyment by complaining of their laughter, it is very difficult for those on limited means to find locations with value added facilities like North Star where parents can afford to take their children.’
Crs Warren Polglase and Phil Youngblutt voted for approval, while Crs Milne, Bagnall, Longland and Byrne voted against.