Kingscliff's Central Park to open on Friday
CHRISTMAS has come early for Kingscliff as the final touches are put in place ahead of the opening of the new Central Park this week.
While the entire park won't be completed until early 2018, Tweed Shire Council announced part of the upgraded park will be open to the public on Friday just in time for the Summer break.
Mayor Katie Milne said council decided to open up part of the $22 million foreshore redevelopment project ahead of Christmas to make visiting Kingscliff a little more enjoyable.
"The park is rapidly taking shape but there are still a number of key elements which need to be finalised, Cr Milne said.
"The power to the park is not connected yet so there is no lighting or barbecues, they are still waiting for some of the pavers and showers to arrive and the turf has just been laid so needs time to knit before it is ready for heavy traffic.
"The concrete steps, the area around the cenotaph and the beach access just south of the bowls club can be safely opened though which is great news.
"I know the community is keen to access their new park and I thank them for their patience during this trying time, and all the workers who have kept this enormous project on track."
Kingscliff Chamber of Commerce president Mark Humphries said it was a relief to have access to the park again.
"With the bridge being closed and then the park fenced off for the past year there has definitely been an impact and we have spent $20,000 of the chamber's funds to run TV ads in the area telling day trippers we are still open for business," Mr Humphries said.
"We have been big supporters of the council's plans from the beginning though and the final design has more than exceeded our expectations."
Council closed the park in January in order to complete its coastal erosion project, which council's general manager Troy Green said was an essential part of preserving the future of Kingscliff.
"It will give people the confidence to invest in the buildings and infrastructure that serve the people who come to enjoy the facilities," he said.
"Prior to our investment in protecting the foreshore, their future was in trouble because the reality was in 20 years time (the Marine Pde buildings) could have been standing at the waters edge.
"We have really secured the towns future. It's fantastic that we've supported an amenity that really fits in with what the Tweed's about."
Mr Green said council really tried to use sustainable materials throughout the park to ensure it would last a long time into the future.
"A lot of the materials used are incorporated into the water sensitive urban design and we've used trees that are native to the area," he said.
Meanwhile, Councillor Warren Polglase said the name of the park was still up for debate, with many residents petitioning online to change the name of Central Park to something more fitting with the community.
"The names are in now, so council will look at the names for a determination early in the new year," he said.
Cr Polglase said the residents should be proud of the new park and he looked forward to seeing the rest of it opening in 2018.
"About 20 years ago, people were talking about how we could revitalise Kingscliff and never would have thought about where we are today," he said.
"It's an enormous achievement which is going to put Kingscliff on the map as a major regional facility in the Northern Rivers."
Temporary lighting will be set up in the area for safety while closed areas of the park will remain fenced off as the site shuts down between December 22 and January 8.