A jewel of the Tweed, Jack Evans Boat Harbour, is set to become a hub for celebrations this Christmas, after the first section of a multi-million upgrade was opened to the public yesterday.

Tweed Shire Council opened the southern precinct of the revitalised Jack Evans Boat Harbour, to enable the community to use the facility during the holiday period.

Council’s project manager for the Jack Evans Boat Harbour revitalisation, Bob Hanby, said it was the first section of the $8 million Stage 1 upgrade to be opened to members of the public, who were quick to take advantage of the foreshore improvements yesterday.

“We were extremely keen to make the upgraded facility available for families to use over the Christmas break,” Mr Hanby said.

“The opening means it will also be available for the Twin Towns Club‟s annual fireworks on New Year’s Eve.”

The southern precinct incorporates new seating and landscaping, as well as sections of the boardwalk and cycleway which will link Jack Evans Boat Harbour to surrounding cycleway networks.

Hundreds of trees and shrubs have been planted and feature lighting has been installed to improve safety and to create a visually spectacular landscape at night.

Contracted construction firm Multispan Australia has been working on the boat harbour revamp since March and was busy adding the finishing touches to the southern precinct yesterday.

A Jack Evans Boat Harbour trader, boat hire operator ‘Big Trev’ Arbon, said the opening would bring a substantial boost for local business during the festive period.

“The harbour is a really safe aquatic venue for families and the upgrade will make it an even bigger attraction for locals and visitors,” Big Trev said.

Stage 1 also includes rejuvenating and enlarging the harbour’s beaches and improved filtration of stormwater entering the harbour.

Mr Hanby said construction works were on schedule to complete the remainder of Stage 1 by the end of April 2011. Additional barbecue and seating facilities and an Aboriginal garden are planned for Stage 2.

PICTURE: Multi Span Australia Business Development Officer Martin Hood (left) and Tweed Shire Council Construction Engineer Bob Hanby in the reopened section of a revitalised Jack Evans Boat Harbour.