Pool beats zoo

By Belinda Scott

THE Pet Porpoise Pool has received the green light from Coffs Harbour City Council to expand into the adjacent Jetty Oval.

The Pet Porpoise Pool management is proposing to lease the oval to build a $15 million plus Marine Magic tourist attraction which would be three and a half times the size of the present Pet Porpoise Pool over the next 10 years.

Marine Magic would combine interactive animal displays with an education and research facility and a water-based theme park.

Paige Sinclair, who became the Pet Porpoise Pool's business manager seven months ago, said the next step was to look at the development area and explore options.

She said while it was a long-term project, she was confident the development could be staged and funding could be found from sources like State and Federal government grants

A concept plan drawing for the site shows a number of different areas ? a children's water park with a low-level waterslide, toddlers pool and water games; a section with a small amphitheatre for outdoor music and weddings and a research and education building for the husbandry of marine mammals; new seal enclosures and touch tidal pools.

Ms Sinclair said the intention was also to have interactive exhibits with a small number of native animals and their keepers.

The decision is a setback for the Coffs Harbour Zoo, which had proposed the re-erection of the Aquajet, with other games and activities on the oval. The zoo had also proposed relocating part of their animal displays to the park and include an animal hospital and educational activities.

Both the zoo and the Pet Porpoise Pool have made formal presentations on their proposals to the mayor and the council's executive team recently.

On Thursday, Coffs Harbour City Council's Planning, Environment and Development Committee voted to advise the Pet Porpoise Pool that their proposal to expand on to the oval was the type of integrated tourist facility that council would encourage.

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