TWEED Mayor Warren Polglase and Richmond MP Justine Elliot turn the first sod at Jack Evans Boat Harbour.
TWEED Mayor Warren Polglase and Richmond MP Justine Elliot turn the first sod at Jack Evans Boat Harbour. Blainey Woodham/Tweed Daily News

Work begins on boat harbour project

WARREN Polglase's re-election as mayor of the Tweed Shire came just in time for him to turn the first sod of dirt for the Jack Evans Boat Harbour Revitalisation.

When the plan was first mooted 15 years ago, Cr Polglase was on council as a spritely 53-year-old.

Two terms as mayor and a sacking later, Cr Polglase was mayor again yesterday as he sank the shovel into the dirt with Richmond MP Justine Elliot.

After all the setbacks over 15 years, including a funding dilemma in May, Cr Polglase was understandably pleased to do so.

“This project has been in the pipeline for 15 years so it is very gratifying for myself and for Tweed Shire Council to announce that we will finally see some works on the ground starting this week,” Cr Polglase said.

“The revitalisation of Jack Evans Boat Harbour will be catalyst for a rejuvenation of Tweed Heads which certainly needs a new direction after many tough years for local businesses.

“Council is committed to this project and has provided substantial funding of $5 million to stage one,” he said.

Back in April, when Cr Polglase had not yet reclaimed his position as mayor, he went public with a guarantee that the Jack Evans revitalisation would happen.

However, when the project was ignored in the federal budget, the plans looked scuttled.

Mrs Elliot copped criticism following the funding failure, but this week announced she had pulled $1.8 million for Jack Evans Boat Harbour from the $650 million Federal Government Job Fund.

“This significant community project will not only revitalise the Tweed Heads Central Business District, it will create and retain 34 construction jobs which will support the local community during these difficult times,” he said.

“When complete the area will provide locals and holiday-makers with a fantastic family-friendly location.”

Current funding will only allow 60 per cent of the $7.16 million stage one to be completed and Cr Polglase said yesterday council would continue to apply for funding to complete the project.

Stage one includes drainage infrastructure, boardwalks, harbour revetment, a cycleway, park furniture, landscaping and barbecues.

It also includes the first stage of the Goorimahbah - Place of Stories Aboriginal botanic and artwork gardens.

Drainage work will be completed first, before the walkway is installed.

It will include amalgamation of drains from six outlets to two, a water-sensitive urban design, drainage beds, overland flow path for storm events, and the addition of in-line filtration and gross pollutant traps.

New landscaping will include a regional cycleway with a link to Bay, Boundary and Coral Streets, a new headland with all-abilities access ramp, and rock pools and rejuvenated and enlarged beach areas.

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