Big Banana revamp

COFFS Harbour's Big Banana, one of the 10 most photographed Australian icons, is about to get even bigger – bigger and wetter.

But there's a catch. Owners Village Building Company and the Rubie Family have revealed their multi-million-dollar redevelopment proposals rely on improved Pacific Highway access.

With a substantial investment in the wings, company directors met the RTA this week to try to find a solution to its highway frustrations.

“It is well known that access and egress to the Big Banana has increasingly become unsafe and problematic due to the large volumes of highway traffic, particularly during peak hours,” Village Building managing director Bob Winnel said.

“We have spent five years working on our master plan, proposing a water park, improved restaurant and dining, residential and tourist accommodation in the form of a 300-apartment complex and possibly even a hotel.

“Our permanent water park proposal has been stymied by a lack of decision over the maintenance of the entry and exit points. We now want a decision by December so we can prepare to have the park open by Christmas 2012,” he said.

Since announcing its master plan, the company has spent several years in talks with the RTA and conducting its own traffic reports and assessments.

The company believes the best solution is a set of traffic lights opposite the Diggers Beach Rd turn-off, which periodically allow southbound traffic to turn across the western highway lanes.

“With gaps in passing traffic becoming fewer and further between, it appears this is the best solution to meet all the design parameters at this location,” Village Building regional manager Peter Ramstadius said.

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