VIDEO: Aquaman gets the greenlight for Hastings film set
A MAJOR disruption to Warner Bros. $160 million blockbuster Aquaman has been avoided with the production given the green light for setting up at Hastings Point headland from July 5 to September 15.
Just days out from when crews where expected in the village, Tweed Shire Council Mayor Katie Milne called a special meeting of the Tweed Coast Reserves Trust Tweed Coast Reserve, to deal with community concerns.
Fears rare grass on the headland would be trampled, the rocky foreshore would be damaged, and concerns over a lack of public consultation with the Hastings Point Progress Association were raised.
After an hour of debate, during which councillors heard from two Hastings Point residents and the film's location manager, Duncan Jones, a temporary licence was given with a vote of 6:1.
Cr Milne voted against the production, who were granted an in-principal approval in March with conditions including it consulted with Hastings Point communities prior to filming.
The mayor came close to tears as she defended the ecological values of the site.
"As a council we need to understand that we have one of the most beautiful shires in the country, but that is because our community has fought fiercely to protect it, otherwise we would be the Gold Coast," Cr Milne said.
But conservative Councillor Warren Polgalse said "a little magic from the film industry" would benefit the community following on from "a tough, very difficult flood" and any exposure for the region could lead to other filming offers.
Earlier, Hastings Point Progress Association member Julie Boyd said the first time some residents heard Aquaman had been give a filming licence, was yesterday, through a letter box drop.
"We've been represented as supporting the movie, but we weren't given the time to consider that kind of decision," Ms Boyd said.
"The details have only just come to light.
"Having fought for this ecologically sensitive environment for last 40 years, we don't want it destroyed over a couple of days."
Ratepayer Gary Thorpe said it was concerning other crews had been spotted scoping out the headland.
"We did have the Johnny Depp crew here for six days, but like all good guests, they didn't overstay their welcome," Mr Thorpe said.
"Johnny Depp had six days, these have six weeks, what are we going to give the next crew? A year? Where do we draw the line?"
Mr Jones admitted the Hastings Point Progress Association were overlooked during Warner Bros.' community engagement process, but the production was working to engage those locals.
Environmental values had been factored into set design, sacred sites would be protected, and a jetty to be temporarily erected would be constructed at a pre-fabrication warehouse in Murwillumbah before being driven in.
"We encourage the local community to be involved in this project, we understand we're in their backyard," he said.
"We've spoken to key experts and asked them to join the team so we can leave the place the way it is - it's a stunning location which is why were so keen to film there.
"We have engaged with a range of experts to ensure the rocky foreshore and grassy headland are protected and covered and this is over and above what the council conditions are."
Cr James Owen agreed Hastings' feature in Aquaman could act as tourism lure.
"What a fantastic opportunity for the community, particularly after the devastating floods, I think this is a great way to build the community up, and it's a fantastic opportunity to build the shire up economically," Cr Owen said.