Proposal for Jack Evans Boat Harbour.
Proposal for Jack Evans Boat Harbour. aquaSplash

Locals fight to block water park in Crown lands inquiry

REFLOATED plans to build an inflatable theme park in Jack Evans Boat Harbour are in troubled waters with Tweed residents fighting to protect Crown lands from development.

The Save the Jack Evans Boat Harbour group has told a parliamentary inquiry into Crown lands reform the proposed Aquasplash fun park would hinder public access, impinge on a culturally significant Aboriginal area and create unnecessary noise for neighbouring residents.

Tweed Shire Council turned down an application to build the buoyant amusement park in 2013, but Cr Warren Polglase has refused to let the project sink.

The council's call for expressions of interest to build and operate the proposed tourist drawcard closed on July 20.

"The vast majority of the community are likely to see a commercial, inflatable fun park as having an adverse effect that will significantly change their environment," the Save the Jack Evans Boat Harbour wrote in its parliamentary submission.

"It is not in harmony with community desires and does not suit the demographic of the Tweed Heads area.

"The natural setting of Jack Evans Boat Harbour precinct promotes a distinctive visual character and provides public amenity and is valuable social space for all members of the community."

The Tweed Wollumbin Aboriginal Education Consultative Group raised concerns over the lack of consultation preceding the grant of an 84-year lease of Crown land south of the Gold Coast Airport.

"This is land that is publicly owned and should be used for public purpose, not sold off to private interests for private profit," group president Deborah Johnson said.

"Considerations relating to public lands should be guided by the principles of the public good, and prioritise the public ownership and continued retention of all Crown lands."

Tweed District Residents and Ratepayers Association secretary Ronni Hoskisson called for a moratorium on the sale, lease or development of all Crown and public lands.

"We are mortified to learn that the Crown may propose to transfer further lands into the control of Tweed Shire Council, we presume, under a reserve trust arrangement," she said.

"It could be said that elected officials in our shire, whilst behaving legally, have shown a complete disregard for ethical and moral considerations in the past."

The inquiry continues. -ARM NEWSDESK


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