Park name swap plan causing stir

TWO Tweed Heads parks at the centre of a proposed name swap have drawn support and backlash from the Tweed's historical community.

Ebenezer Park, which runs along the Tweed River on Keith Compton Drive, and John Follent Park, near Duranbah Beach in Coral Street, could have their names swapped to better suit their geographical relevance.

The Rotary Club of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads, which commissioned the plans and design for John Follent Park, are opposed to the proposed name swap.

But historian, Banora Point resident Bill Stafford is keen for the swap to go ahead.

Rotary club president Jim Steele said he would be disappointed if the names are changed.

“The club was instrumental in the planning of the park,” Mr Steel said. “It has been there for a long time and there has not been a complaint until now. Not many people have heard of the Ebenezer ship, and it is already well-commemorated in the existing park .

John Follent Park honours the late Dr John Follent, a long-serving general practitioner in Tweed Heads and Coolangatta as well as a driving force for the establishment of The Tweed Hospital.

He was also an honorary Anglican priest at St Cuthbert's Anglican Church.

The Ebenezer was a 90-tonne schooner which hit rocks on low tide near Duranbah Beach on July 30, 1859.

Swapping the park names would mean John Follent Park would be behind The Tweed Hospital while Ebenezer Park will be closer to the site of the original sinking.

Mr Stafford, 85, said the late Dr Follent was a family friend and should be remembered in the park closest to The Tweed Hospital.

“I feel that John's contributions should be recognised,” Mr Stafford said. “It makes more sense to have John Follent Park next to the hospital and Ebenezer Park next to where it was scuttled.”

Mr Stafford said he wrote to the Tweed Shire Council more than 15 years ago and requested the Keith Compton Drive park be named after Dr Follent.

Tweed Heads Historical Society founding president Warren Keats began campaigning Tweed Shire Council to change the names of the riverside parks last month.

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