Flood damaged information centre to be demolished ahead of Budd Park upgrade

Tweed Shire Council
World Heritage Rainforest Centre

Council is seeking community feedback on a draft concept plan to upgrade Budd Park at Murwillumbah, a popular meeting point beside the Tweed River.

The upgrade forms part of a $15.5 million funding package from the Australian and NSW governments to help restore and improve community assets that have been storm or flood damaged.

The proposal includes plans to demolish the World Heritage Rainforest Centre – once home to the Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre – which was inundated in both the 2017 and 2022 floods, resulting in substantial damage to the building and its surrounds.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry said in response to these recurring challenges, Council had made the decision to remove the flood-prone building to prioritise public safety and mitigate future risks associated with its vulnerable location.

“Budd Park is such a significant meeting place for residents across the Tweed – from generations of families picnicking on the lawns, to the river providing the perfect backdrop for the traditional Year 12 formal photos,” Cr Cherry said.

“Demolition of the flood-prone building opens opportunities for revitalisation and redevelopment of the park, with the area occupied by the building and internal car park proposed to be repurposed as parkland, enhancing access to quality public open space for residents and visitors.

“This transformation of the gateway to Murwillumbah will create a vibrant community hub that promotes outdoor activities and social interaction, significantly improving the area’s aesthetic and recreational value.”

Proposed works include:

  • demolition of the World Heritage Rainforest Centre and internal road

  • repairing existing public toilets

  • retaining western car park with an additional accessible parking bay

  • reducing size of the eastern car park by 5 spaces, resealing car park, and enabling entry and exit onto Tweed Valley Way

  • accessible shelters, barbecues, picnic tables, seating and rubbish bins

  • connecting pathways and bike racks

  • drinking fountain

  • informative flood markers and painting of the existing feature pole

  • landscaping and tree planting.

Cr Cherry said the decision to demolish the World Heritage Rainforest Centre had arisen from the need to address public safety and reduce the risk of future flooding.

“Frequent flooding events have caused extensive damage to the building, rendering it unable to be occupied without extensive repair works,” she said.

“And due to its flood-prone location, the building is now uninsurable, placing a financial burden on Council and diverting funds from other vital community projects and services. In addition to safety concerns, the economic implications of maintaining a flood-prone building are substantial.

“The proposed new upgrade presents opportunities to deliver modern, resilient infrastructure that can better withstand future weather events.”

The Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre has been relocated and is now conveniently situated across the road at Murwillumbah Railway Station, at the trail head of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

The Green Cauldron Panorama mural, previously located within the centre, has been placed in storage for safe keeping.

The World Heritage Rainforest Centre is scheduled for demolition in late 2024 and construction will commence in early 2025.

Council invites residents to have their say on the draft concept plan for the upgrade of Budd Park before 4 pm on 10 July 2024. View the concept plan and have your say at yoursaytweed.com.au/buddpark

/Public Release. View in full here.