Report backs Big Prawn demolition
THE fate of Ballina's Big Prawn is to be decided this week.
Ballina Shire Council will decide on Thursday whether to approve an application to demolish Australia's most famous crustacean, along with the Caltex service station and surrounding buildings.
The council's regulatory services group manager, Rod Willis, said the recommendation was for the application to be approved for many good reasons.
But the Prawn's champions are fighting to preserve it from the wrecker's ball, with several options being proposed.
Developer Chris Condon wants to give it a new lease of life at the service centre he is planning for the Teven Road interchange on the Ballina bypass route.
“I'm sure that council will approve the application to demolish, but I hope the current owners will pause and think about it before they take action to tear it down,” he said.
“I'm going to talk with them and with town planner Denny Chappelle to see if we can do something more to preserve it,” he said.
He has been discussing the viability of such a move with the people who built the Prawn, Louie and Attilla Moknay, of LA Developments, who also built the Big Merino at Goulburn and the Big Oyster at Taree.
“They said it could be dismantled just like you would take apart a real prawn,” Mr Condon said. “Remove the tail, then separate the mid section from the head.”
The aim would be to then take the parts to the new site and reassemble it in its new home.
Some restoration work would be needed, Mr Condon said, because having been up for 20 years, the Prawn was 'bound to be a bit tired'.
“I want to make every effort to ensure that it goes to a nice new home,” he said.
Ballina Tourism spokesman Dave Heggie said the Prawn had become an icon with thousands of supporters internationally.
“If it is demolished we will be known worldwide as the town that killed the Big Prawn,” he said.
Mr Heggie would like to see the Prawn preserved in the centre of town, or in the river -'back in the water, where it belongs'.