It is now quite clear that the shortsighted decision by Ballina Council to sell two blocks of land opposite the Lennox Surf Club was against the community’s wishes.
When more than 1200 people sign a petition calling on the decision to be reversed and the blocks declared ‘community land’, there can be no doubt that the sale should be stopped. That land should provide future amenity in an area already congested every weekend.
Fortunately there is still time to stop the sale. That’s because the state government decision to purchase the blocks – based on a recommendation by Mr Jim Bolger, the North Coast Accommodation Trust manager – is still yet to be made. Because of a recent NSW cabinet reshuffle, Mr Andrew Stoner, deputy premier and National Party leader will now make that final decision.
Our local member Don Page, in supporting the land sale, has deeply disappointed the community. In a typical political ‘buck pass’ he has wiped his hands by asserting that ‘Ballina Council is representing the views of the community’. Given the level of support for this petition, in a mere two weeks, with seven local community groups firmly united against the sale, how could anyone honestly claim that Ballina Council is representing the community’s wishes?
Being the minister for the north coast, Mr Page plays an even stronger role in the deal. His own government is pressuring Ballina Council to rezone rural and agricultural land at Cumbalum (five minutes drive from Lennox) to allow new residential subdivisions for up to 10,000 new residents on land covering in excess of 200 hectares.
Isn’t it good sense to keep as much public land and open space in hand to provide amenity for this huge predicted population increase? But unless this sale is stopped, government is effectively condoning a diminishing of the quality of life for current and future residents of this area.
We can all still register our opposition by emailing the following addresses to let them know the real ‘views of the community’.
Ballina Shire councillor Jeff Johnson, Lennox Head