Extreme tension over sports park

A POPULAR extreme sports retreat in Tabulam is at the centre of mounting tension between Tenterfield Shire Council and distressed locals.

The Emu Creek Extreme Retreat, which runs off Paddy’s Flat Road, has been operating for almost adecade, but with 13,000 visitors on their books, neighbouring residents have been constant campaigners against the extreme sports haven.

Aside from motocross riding, 4WD tracks and BMX riding, the park offers on-site accommodation, canoeing and fishing on the 400ha site.

The retreat was functioning on a 1993 development approval but an influx of complaints about fire hazards, Aboriginal sacred sites and noise, led to the council ordering the closure of the park in January, placing the retreat’s owner on the brink of bankruptcy.

However, after an on-site visit to the retreat last week, the council voted unanimously in support of the extreme park’s new development application.

Christine Baker has been living in her Tabulam home for 19 years and is fed up with the noise pollution.

“I have sent so many complaints about this to Tenterfield Shire about the uninsured, unlicensed riders, the noise pollution and the number of ambos and helicopters who have to come out here and pick up injured people,” she said.

“They are more inclined to look after the tourist dollar than us.”

Mrs Baker said neighbouring residents had taken to putting their properties up for sale to get away from the noise pollution that came in the form of ‘doof doof music that goes till 3am’.

Emu Creek Extreme Park owner Blair Maxwell has been involved with the park for its entire 17 years.

Mr Maxwell said claims brought against him by neighbours were not substantiated.

“The constant attack on us by some residents has pushed the council to shut us down,” he said.

“But all of the complaints have not been substantiated.

“We take our own noise readings that are in line with council restrictions, we do winter backburning to protect against fires, and our visitors bring an income to the local economy.

“We know Urbenville relies on our passing trade. There are customers who spend $150 each time they go through the town on the way to us.

“Our financial situation is dire since we have been closed.”

A public meeting about the development application for the extreme park will be held on May 28.

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