Big Prawn 'will live again'
LENNOX HEAD developer Chris Condon’s idea of moving Ballina’s Big Prawn has hit a snag and is now sunk – but he still is hooked on the prawn and has big plans for a new one.
Mr Condon is in the process of having plans drawn up for a big prawn he hopes to erect at a service station on the new Ballina bypass.
And he said he wants it to be as big or even bigger than the current crustacean at West Ballina, which looks like it will now be peeled down by the bulldozers.
“I think the Big Prawn is an icon, not an eyesore,” he said.
“It would be very sad to lose something that is so synonymous with the area.
“Ballina is identified not only around NSW, but throughout Australia and the world, by the Big Prawn.”
Mr Condon said the structural integrity of the current Big Prawn was too poor to go ahead with his plan to move the crustacean to the proposed new service centre at the Teven Road interchange on the Ballina bypass route, with its petrol station and fast food outlets.
He first announced the idea when Dojoo Pty Ltd, the owners of the Big Prawn, this year lodged a development application to demolish it and the Caltex service station at West Ballina.
Ballina Shire Council in September approved the demolition, and heard from consultants for Dojoo Pty Ltd that the Big Prawn structure had some concrete cancer.
The news the iconic prawn would be destroyed drew worldwide media attention, with Mr Condon one of its most vocal champions.
The Lennox Head developer is currently getting two designs drawn up for a new Big Prawn.
One will have the prawn atop a building, and the second will have it as a stand-alone structure beside the planned service centre, complete with a children’s playground.
“I believe that while the proposed highway service centre will be the gateway into Ballina, the tourism value of the Big Prawn is too significant to let such a well-known icon of the area betaken away permanently,” he said.
It’s not the first time Mr Condon has been behind the building of a Big Thing.
In 1990, he had a six-metre-high World’s Biggest Beer Can built on top of the Grand Hotel which he owned at Cobar. It’s still there.
“I’m a huge fan of the big concept,” he said.
“I like those sort of things and they represent something that is niche to the area.”
The development application for the proposed 5000sqm Teven Road interchange service centre is currently before Ballina Shire Council.
Cr Sharon Cadwallader, who suggested the current Big Prawn could be used as a water feature in Ballina, also concedes there is little that can be done to save the crustacean because of its condition.
She said there was an opportunity in the future to have a Big Prawn of some sorts and she was planning discussions with Ballina Tourism and Hospitality.