Tweed Daily News

Harbour plan promise

AFTER more than 15 years of being the ugly sister to Coolangatta, Jack Evans Boat Harbour will get its $14.35 million facelift, former mayor Warren Polglase has guaranteed.

The detailed design of the boat harbour revamp, including an ambitious plan to change the way stormwater drains spew into the harbour, a new central beach area, kiosk, amenities, indigenous culture garden, open space and a dozen barbecues, was launched by Tweed Shire Council yesterday.

Improved water filtration, disabled water access, a cycleway and wide boardwalks winding around the harbour are part of the design.

“This will happen - it's exciting,” said Cr Polglase after a presentation of the plan to Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce yesterday.

“The detailed design has gone back to what people were asking for 15 years ago - green space, clean toilets and amenities and a family-friendly atmosphere.

“The silent minority want this to happen, even though the loud majority have tried to fight it every step of the way; but we will push ahead with it.”

With the plans now placed on public display for the community to comment, the next hurdle is securing $4.2 million in Federal Government funding to proceed with construction of Stage One by Sep- tember.

This funding will add to the $2.73 million already set aside by council, and $2.3 million from a Commonwealth cycleway grant, boosting the total cost of Stage One to $7.16 million.

Stage Two is expected to cost $7.19 million, including $6.45 million in Federal funding and $745,000 from council.

“If we don't get the Federal funding, council has set aside $5 million in its draft budget for the project, which will be considered by council at its meeting next week,” said Tweed Shire Council director of engineering and operations Patrick Knight. “The $5 million was set aside in council's seven-year rate plan and we can also access about $2 million of banked section 94 (developer) contributions, so we would be able to pursue most of Stage One of the project ourselves.”

Council's general manager Mike Rayner confirmed money had been set aside by council “just in case”, but added he was confident the application for Federal funding would be approved.

“The funding is part of $54 million set aside for iconic projects that have to start by September,” Mr Rayner said. “For once, timing is on our side when it comes to Jack Evans, and we have the design and planning in place so we could start by September.

“In reality we have been holding off calling for tenders for the project so we could access all the different types of funding that we could. But if we can't get that funding, council has set aside funds to proceed with the upgrade itself.”

Included in the design is the “expensive and huge engineering task” of diverting stormwater from six drains that currently spill into the boat harbour, into just two deep-water drains.

A 30-metre-wide overland flow-path, cutting through the Goorimahbah - Place of Stories indigenous garden will be built to cope with the overflow of water from nearby roads and suburbs, said council's project officer Georgina Wright.

The “hazardous” terracotta erosion protection installed by council will be dug out to the east of Twin Towns Services Club to create a central beach area, which will be overlooked by an architect-designed kiosk, toilet and outdoor shower amenities block.

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