Yellow subs for harbour

YELLOW submarines are likely to be among the aquatic craft moving about a revamped Jack Evans boat harbour after the venture was given an initial greenlight by Tweed Shire Council this week.

Up to six of the one-person mini submersibles - known as scubadoos - will take tourists beneath the waves to explore the harbour's unique marine life.

The council ? sitting as the reserves trust ? voted unanimously to allow the operators, Bevan and Val Steffensen, to formally lodge a development application for their venture.

The couple, who launched a similar operation on the Great Barrier Reef six years ago, say they chose the harbour for their second underwater foray because of its relative safety and abundance of marine life.

"We looked at scores of potential sites along the Coast but none came close to matching the Jack Evans harbour," said Ms Steffensen.

"It's teeming with a wide variety of colourful fish as well as turtles and dolphins ? it's just an aquatic wonderland."

The submersibles are powered by non-polluting sealed batteries and are fitted with an air-filled glass canopy which allow the occupant to breathe and view the marine life.

They will be launched from a pontoon or catamaran moored in the harbour and will be supervised by a fully qualified dive instructor.

Ms Steffensen said their Barrier Reef operation had proved enormously successful and their subs were booked out every day.

"We are initially looking for temporary approval until the plans for the harbour are finally prepared."

The Lands Department says it believes the venture has merit and indicated it would consider granting a licence on a temporary basis.

Wintersun Festival organiser Barry McNamara said it sounded like the type of drawcard that was needed to bring tourists into the area.

"I think it's a great idea - the yellow submarines would more than complement the pink Cadillacs and other cars that come here for our festival," he said.

What do you think about subs in the boat harbour? Write to us at letters@tweednews.com.au or fax (07) 5524 6222.



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