Park makes a splash after bitter four-year battle
THIS is the waterslide that cost ratepayers more than $155,000 in legal fees, its owner a further $200,000 in legal fees and a lot more stress.
Now, almost four years after first meeting with Tweed Shire Council to discuss plans to upgrade his water park, North Star Holiday Resort owner Ian Beadel can finally rest easy.
Mr Beadel, who with his wife Diana took over the tourist park at Hastings Point some 38 years ago, officially opened their new water park at a ceremony on Thursday, just in time for the spring holidays.
They also announced their retirement, handing over the reins of their business to their son Ben, who will be supported by their loyal management team.
"It's a great day to celebrate," Mr Beadel said.
"It has been three years and nine months - unbelievable. But it's already in great demand, the phones are ringing all the time."
The refurbishment cost almost $1.5 million, double their original estimate, after Mayor Katie Milne and councillors Reece Byrnes, Chris Cherry and Ron Cooper refused its approval, despite the recommendation of council officers, citing the concerns of a handful of residents.
Mr Beadel appealed their decision, winning his case in the Land and Environment Court earlier this year, with conditions including limiting the water park to guests and visitors of the park, as well as the erection of a sound barrier and the planting of 450 native trees.
The businessman's advice to others in the same boat is "don't take no for an answer".
"For some particular reason we don't have enough councillors who are embracing development," Mr Beadel said.
"It seems to be a real challenge for this shire. If you don't have development, you haven't got employment and you go backwards and people go somewhere else."
Theo Whitmont, president of the Caravan and Camping Industry Association of NSW, praised the Beadels for their outstanding work over almost four decades, taking their park from a struggling 1.5-star - "at a stretch" - camping ground to one that today employs 75 people and has two national tourism excellence awards on its mantle.
"Behind us here is an investment of $1.5 million," Mr Whitmont said.
"It is very hard to find a family business that is prepared to put that sort of money out there and it is very impressive to see.
"Ian is a fighter. He fights for what he believes is right and what he knows is correct. This water park is a living, breathing example of just that. Ian, Diana and Ben have stuck it out and worked together to realise the dreams of their undertaking.
"I am reminded of when the Beadels first arrived here in 1980 - nearly 40 years ago. The property was on life support - there were no roads, no sewerage, and it was a stretch for the place to be rated at 1.5 stars. It was little more than a bare campsite that struggled to employ two people. Now it is the pride of industry, employs 75 people and has won the Australian Tourism award of excellence twice
"The Beadel family has been synonymous with excellence for 30 years. They are known across the country. They would be welcome in any holiday park in the country because what they don't know about the industry isn't worth knowing."
Mr Whitmont said, although the Beadels were hanging up their boots, he was sure their advice would be in hot demand.
"Ian and Diana have taken various roles of leadership and have always been influencers and the people to put their hand up first when asked and have always led by example," he said.
"They are a guiding light in our industry."