Recent Gold Coast City Council orders have seen the multi-million dollar attraction - originally scheduled for a six month stay at the Main Beach theme park - temporarily close down this week. The Council cites the ride's colossal height as the key reason for its closure, sparked by complaints from Main Beach residents. The decision was changed on Friday, giving at least temporary relief to the ride which has been the target of much attention in the past week.

The 60m tall observation wheel is the tallest structure on The Spit, where there is a two storey height restriction. A handful of other attractions at the theme park also exceed the limit, which in the past have been met by minimal complaint from residents in surrounding areas.

While some councillors are siding with the theme park - a major draw card in a city where tourism is the backbone of the economy - others fear that giving Sea World the go-ahead to keep the ride operating will set a precedent that will make it difficult in future to restrict the height of developments in one of the few remaining parts of the area untouched by high-rise apartments.

The Council has flip-flopped over the last week, reinstating permission for Sea World to operate the ride, at least temporarily, after calling for the ride's closure days earlier. Sea World hopes to be allowed to keep the ride operating until February 2008. The initial run was anticipated to see the ride operate through to May of this year. The park has also suggested in the past that they may seek to keep the ride permanently, or build a similar replacement.

The Sea World Eye is one of the world's largest transportable observation wheels, designed and built by European manufacturer Ronald Bussink Professional Rides. The ride features 42 six-person air conditioned gondolas with customised narration to accompany the 15 minute ride. An identical ride sits atop Niagara Falls in the United States.