HANDS OFF OUR PRAWN: Rumours Ballina’s Big Prawn could be snatched across the Queensland border to a new home on the Gold Coast have sparked a hostile reaction from a Ballina tourism official.
HANDS OFF OUR PRAWN: Rumours Ballina’s Big Prawn could be snatched across the Queensland border to a new home on the Gold Coast have sparked a hostile reaction from a Ballina tourism official. Digital image by Maggie Cooper

Big prawn becomes a pawn

GET your hands off our prawn.

That's the message from Tourism Ballina Inc secretary Dave Heggie, after reports the Gold Coast Fishermen's Co-operative is willing to take the Big Prawn across the Queensland border.

“I don't think that is something that should be happening - how dare they try and steal it,” he said.

“I would rather see the old prawn dead and buried before we give it to the Gold Coast.

Ballina is known worldwide as the King of Big Prawn and it should stay that way - we shouldn't lose it. If we are going to lose it, we should get a new one out at the gateway, which has been offered by a local developer.

“We will have a big problem getting people to stop in Ballina once the bypass is finished and it will be important to have significant gateway signage. The Big Prawn is synonymous with Ballina and would be ideal for just that purpose.”

Gold Coast Fishermen's Co-operative chairman Richard Hamilton said that at the moment the suggestion they would take the Big Prawn was 'only bloody hype'.

“I haven't spoken to the owner yet, I haven't spoken to other co-op members yet, and I don't know how big it is. I have driven through Ballina so I know it is pretty bloody big, but I don't know if we have the room for it up here,” he said.

Gold Coast Tourism spokesman Ben Pole said marketing the Big Prawn, if it did move to the Gold Coast, would not be a priority.

“Gold Coast Tourism doesn't believe the Big Prawn itself has the capacity to lure new tourists to the area,” he said.

“If they (the fishing co-operative) believe the Big Prawn is going to assist them, more power to them, and congratulations on a nice marketing move, but it wouldn't be a priority on the list of Gold Coast icons we would be marketing to the world.”

Ballina mayor Phillip Silver said it was his understanding the cement on the Big Prawn was decaying and the building was not suitable for relocation.

“But if the owner and a potential buyer want to come to an arrangement that is up to them,” Cr Silver said.

“It's not the council's prawn. It's his asset or liability to work with.”

It has been suggested a new home for the Big Prawn on the Gold Coast could be set up at the fishing co-op's headquarters, near Marina Mirage and the Palazzo Versace.

Palazzo Versace's marketing department would not comment on their views of the Big Prawn as a potential neighbour.



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