Jack Evans Boat Harbour in Tweed Heads.
Jack Evans Boat Harbour in Tweed Heads.

Harbour plans scuttled

COUNCIL plans to beautify Jack Evans Boat Harbour in the heart of Tweed Heads have run aground after local Federal MP Justine Elliot yesterday admitted the project would not get Rudd Government funding.

Doubts about the Federal money for the project, which would have created dozens of construction jobs and subsequently boost employment opportunities in a revitalised Tweed Heads CBD, were first raised in the Tweed Daily News last Friday.

That was after millions of dollars were announced for nearby areas such as Byron Bay, but Mrs Elliot remained silent on funding for the Tweed Heads project.

Yesterday Mrs Elliot said in a prepared statement: “Tweed Shire Council's application for funding to redevelop the Jack Evans Boat Harbour foreshore land has not been successful”.

She said she had been “advised that Tweed Shire Council's application did not meet all of the cri- teria at this time”.

The announcement sparked outrage among Tweed Shire councillors who had expected that Mrs Elliot, as a minister in the Rudd Government, would lobby successfully for money to be spent here.

Council staff had been anxiously waiting for word that they would get more than $10 million necessary on top of Council funding to complete the project.

Yesterday a Council spokes- person said drainage work could still begin, but “much of the beauti- fication will just have to wait”.

Tweed mayor Joan van Lieshout said the news was “very disappointing”, but the Council had not even been officially told and she would take the matter up with Mrs Elliot at a planned meeting on Friday.

“It means with the funding we do have we will not be able to do what we would like,” Cr van Lieshout said.

“We will have to go back to the table and see what we can fund.

“I cannot understand it when we have been 'shovel-ready' for quite a while”.

Long-time advocate of the upgrade Cr Warren Polglase, who last week voiced concerns about the delay in an announcement, said: “I'm totally disappointed and flabbergasted.

“Justine Elliot is what you would call a poor performer.

“A large proportion of her votes came from this particular area.

“Being a minister you would have thought she would have made sure the project stacked up with the criteria.

“I would like her to table why it didn't meet the criteria.”

Cr Polglase said the Council could still push ahead because it had money for drainage works and a “start on other works”, but he had hoped beautification could have taken place while the park- land was dug up.

The full $14.35 million project would have included a $3.37 million contribution from the Council.

The $7.6 million stage one included new boardwalks, a cycleway, park furniture, barbecues and the first phase of Aboriginal botanic gardens with artworks.

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