Harbour plan 'a winner'

RECONCILIATION and tour- ism will be the real winners of the long-awaited $14.35 million revitalisation of Jack Evans Boat Harbour, Tweed indigenous leader Russell Logan believes.

The former chairman of the Tweed/Byron Aboriginal Land Council is excited that the overhaul of the 4.3-hectare parkland is planned to include a garden that shines a spotlight on the contribution of the indigenous community to the Tweed of today.

“A lot of non-indigenous people and even some of the younger members of the indigenous community don't fully understand the history of this area,” the father of five said.

“But we need to have an understanding of both indigenous and non-indigenous histories in the area to really find out who we are, what the identity of the Tweed really is.”

After launching a concept plan for the boat harbour revamp in 2006, Tweed Shire Council will place a detailed design for stage one of the re- vitalisation projects today, with the community invited to comment on the proposal which is on public display until May 13.

Public information sessions about the project, which is planned to include a cycleway, pedestrian boardwalks and extensive landscaping, will be held today at Twin Towns Services Club at 2pm and 6pm and on April 23 at 6pm.

The plan will also be presented to members of the Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce this morning.

“Tweed Tourism has identified eco-tourism and indigenous tourism as one of the big growth areas for the Tweed, especially when we have Wollumbin as a focal point,” Mr Logan said.

“The Tweed is kind of the forgotten part of the coast, but the garden and the greater project with its boardwalk and parklands will help bring tour- ists across the border.”

The plan to build the Goorimahbah - Place of Stories Aboriginal Garden was first included in draft revitalisation plans for the former Border Caravan Park site in 2006 as part of a big-picture idea to draw more tourists, business and residents to the Tweed Heads CBD.

Mr Logan and other indigenous leaders were part of a consultative committee that worked with Tweed Shire Council to come up with plans for the historic and cultural interpretation garden, which was planned to include bush tucker and medicinal plants used by the local tribes, as well as pay tribute to pioneering Aboriginal families who played an important role in helping to establish vital industries on the Tweed.

“When council first released its plans in 2006 some parts of the community were opposed to money being spent on an indigenous garden,” Mr Logan said.

“I can understand their concerns.

“At the time they didn't want indigenous iconography as a main part of the park.

“The basis of all fears is a lack of understanding or the unknown, and the garden will help people come to a better understanding of our culture.”

Project fact sheets are available at www.tweed.nsw.gov.au

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