Mushroomflavour toCaba tale

A SEASIDE site at Cabarita is set to be transformed into a beachclub movie set next month for a feature film about two American girls and their mermaid friend.

Tweed shire councillors, acting as trustees of Tweed Coast Reserves, gave the thumbs up this week to a bid by a Fox Entertainment Group company for a temporary licence to film at the Crown reserve site just south of Norries Headland.

However, the licence is conditional on approval by the State Planning Minister as the planned occupation of the site exceeds the period allowable under planning laws.

Aqua Films Pty Ltd want to occupy the site from January 17 to April 29 to build a beach-club set comprising three building facades with interiors, swimming pool, cabana and landscaping.

In a letter to the reserve trust, a Fox Studios Australia executive said production for the film Aquamarine would involve filming in and around the Gold Coast and northern NSW for two months early next year and the company would spend over $15 million in the area.

More than 300 Australian cast and crew would be engaged, including locals as extras or construction crew where feasible.

The company intends consulting with local resident and dune care groups, business and lifesaving clubs.

Council staff said that while the company did not propose significant damage to existing vegetation, a development application addressing environmental impacts and a rehabilitation plan for the site would have to be lodged with the Planning Minister.

Cr Henry James voted against the plan, saying trustees were being "treated like mushrooms" as the report gave little information on potential environmental impacts on dune vegetation, what rent Council would get or other benefits for the community.

Public access to the beach near the site, Cr James said, would also be limited.

Production crews are expected to move in to the site early in the new year to build sets before starting three weeks of filming in March.

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