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Big Prawn still on 'must see' list

Brisbane residents Pauline Coffey, Clare Coffey, 14 months, Jenny Newton and Lilla Pearl Coffey (on shoulders) stopped to see the Big Prawn on their way to Nambucca Heads. Ms Newton would like to relocate the crustacean to her garden in Brisbane.
Brisbane residents Pauline Coffey, Clare Coffey, 14 months, Jenny Newton and Lilla Pearl Coffey (on shoulders) stopped to see the Big Prawn on their way to Nambucca Heads. Ms Newton would like to relocate the crustacean to her garden in Brisbane. Rebecca Lollback

THE Big Prawn might look a bit out of place in a suburban Brisbane garden, but that’s where Jenny Newton would put the Ballina icon if she could save it.

“We were doing up the backyard and I said, ‘we should have put a bid on the Big Prawn’,” she said.

“We heard that it was going to get knocked down.

“It’s a real shame. We like it and think it should stay.”

She was one of many who took a break from the holiday traffic yesterday to catch one last glimpse of the giant crustacean.

Others posed to have their photograph taken in front of the Big Prawn which, after 19 years, is set to become just a memory.

It will be demolished early next year after Ballina Shire Council gave the approval to owner Santo Pennisi in August.

But the fate of the 14-metre high Prawn has split the community, with some calling it an ‘eyesore’, while others saying it should be restored because it is a Ballina icon.

Despite receiving more than 160 objections to the construction of the Big Prawn, the council gave approval for the project in 1988.

It was built in 1990 at a cost of $500,000.

“All it needs is a bit of a paint job,” Ms Newton said yesterday.

“It’s great. I would vote to keep the Big Prawn.”

But not everyone is convinced.

A group of German tourists who stopped at the service centre yesterday morning weren’t impressed by the crustacean.

“We don’t care if they get rid of it. We think it’s ugly,” one man said.

But the group still took the time to have their photograph taken next to the icon before continuing on their journey.

Ballina could still be known as the home of the Big Prawn even once the existing one is gone, with Lennox Head developer Chris Condon planning to build a new one at his proposed service centre on the Ballina bypass.

Plans for the service centre are still before the council and Mr Condon is working on a detailed design for the new Big Prawn.

There have been many other ideas for the Prawn, including using it as a Ballina water feature or moving it on top of the new Coast Guard tower.

It is still not known what Mr Pennisi will do with the West Ballina site once the giant crustacean and the buildings are removed.



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