Claims ripple harbour plans

By ED SOUTHORN

NEW Aboriginal land claims around the Jack Evans Boat Harbour aim to give the local indigenous community a greater say in redevelopment of the precinct.

Tweed Byron Land Council chairman Russell Logan yesterday confirmed three vacant sites around the boat harbour had been claimed, in order to give indigenous people more "bargaining power" in determining the boat harbour's future.

Tweed Mayor Warren Polglase said the land claims could impact on a scubadoo mini-submersible tourist ride business given preliminary support by Tweed Shire Council last week.

Mr Logan indicated the land council had applied for compensation for the state government-held lease-free sites, which he said were men's meeting places before white settlement, because the land council had been offered only a small parcel of land for a "reconciliation path" as part of the proposed boat harbour redevelopment.

"The commitment hasn't been there for us," said Mr Logan, who has previously encouraged the State Government and the shire council to consider a heritage centre at the boat harbour.

Mr Logan said the land council had made no decisions on what should be done with the land under claim and hoped to continue talking with government agencies and the shire council.

Councillor Polglase said he was "frustrated" the boat harbour redevelopment could be delayed, after learning of the land claims from the NSW Lands Department late last week.

He said he hoped all parties could agree on a way forward to ensure the boat harbour redevelopment benefitted the "whole community".

Councillor Polglase said Council last week advertised for a co-ordinating officer for the boat harbour redevelopment and was keen to firstly create an open space barbecue area on the old caravan park site and improve perimeter roads.



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