Big Prawn plan floated
BALLINA councillor Sharon Cadwallader wants to cast Ballina's Big Prawn into the water as bait to get tourists into town.
And it's created somewhat of a tussle for the crustacean.
While Ballina Shire Council last week gave approval for the Big Prawn at West Ballina to be demolished, Cr Cadwallader put forward the idea to relocate the Prawn, and make it a water feature.
She has asked the council's general manager, Paul Hickey, to set up a meeting with the Prawn's current owner, Dojoo Pty Ltd, and for staff to investigate possible watery locations for the crustacean, like Shaws Bay.
And she has also spoken to Page MP Janelle Saffin, about possible Federal funding.
Meanwhile, Lennox Head developer Chris Condon has already been in discussions with the current owner's representatives about moving the Prawn to a new service centre proposed for the Teven Road interchange on the new Ballina bypass route.
And he said he was also looking at the feasibility of building a brand new Big Prawn, if the icon cannot be saved from the 'concrete cancer' described in a report to last week's council meeting.
What both Cr Cadwallader and Mr Condon agree on is that the Prawn is good for Ballina.
“I think a lot of people forget about the importance of the Prawn,” Cr Cadwallader said.
“People do connect with it as identifying the Big Prawn in Ballina.”
And she said it was impossible to ignore the Facebook online petitions running to save the Prawn, which have gained the support of about 6000 people.
“It's now had global recognition (appearing on the David Letterman show in the US) and people have expressed their heart connection with the Prawn,” she said.
“Money can't buy this sort of promotion we've had around the globe.”
Cr Cadwallader admitted some people might mock the idea to turn the Prawn into an aquatic feature, but she described them as short-sighted.
She said tourism was about thinking outside the square.
“This is about jobs - it is about regional development,” she said.
And to celebrate the Prawn, she suggested a future festival.
She said the idea to put the Prawn at a service centre on the new bypass route was not the way to go, saying the Prawn needed to be used to bring people into Ballina, and needed to be in town.
She said Ballina was not 'bypass-ready'.
She suggested starting up a Save the Prawn fund, and collecting money through the sale of discount voucher books, with the support of local businesses.
Ballina's Maureen O'Mara, who printed up Save our Prawn T-shirts and appeared on the national Sunrise program after giving the host David 'Kochie' Koch one of the shirts, said making the Prawn a water feature was a great idea.
“Put it in Shaws Bay and make it a waterslide,” she said. “It's for everyone's entertainment - everyone's joy.
“It would be great for tourists and locals alike.”
She also said the service centre proposal was a good idea - as the long as the Prawn is retained and can be enjoyed by the public.
Cr Cadwallader said any proposal for the Prawn would need a full assessment of the Prawn's condition.