21.5 C
Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Bid to stop Lennox land sale fails

Latest News

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 10 March, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 10 March, 2021

Other News

A little bit of COVID…

Mandy Nolan has stated in The Echo, ‘For 30 years I’ve fought to give a voice to the voiceless...

Man arrested after shots fired in Dunoon

A police report says a 63-year-old man man has been arrested following multiple public place shots fired overnight.

Byron’s rail reactivation saga continues

Byron Council will consider funding further investigations into getting trains back on the tracks in the Shire, despite strong criticisms of the reports on the matter that have been prepared to date.

Nimbin medicinal cannabis event, March 27

Two experienced medical cannabis doctors and a retired magistrate who is passionate about changing the drug driving rules will take part in the MEDICAN gathering in Nimbin.

Question for Bob Carr

Simon Alderton, Murwillumbah I hope Kerry O’Brien asks Bob Carr (in their ‘conversations’ at Byron Theatre on Friday, 5 March) if...

Contemporary Byron

David Morris, Byron Bay ‘In Xanadu did Kubla Khan/A stately pleasure-dome decree’, Coleridge. Lines penned supposedly after being woken from...

Luis Feli

A last-ditch effort to stop Ballina Shire Council selling off two prime beachfront blocks of public land at Lennox Head to the state government for $1.3 million failed yesterday.

But the proceeds of the controversial sale will be directed to the upgrade of the Lennox Head Surf Lifesaving Club across the road from the two blocks in Ross Street, instead of straight into council coffers.

Cr Jeff Johnson again failed in his bid for council to withdraw its offer to sell the blocks to the state government for use by the adjoining Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park, which it took control of several years ago.

Cr Johnson said the land was sorely needed for use by a fast-growing community in a highly congested area and councillors should take note of the community outcry over the sale.

He said many saw the sale as ‘simply a commercial decision’ and council could easily sell large industrial lots it owned instead.

‘This should be deferred at least till a review of the Lake Ainsworth Management Plan is completed,’ he said.

A packed public gallery watched the long and sometimes heated debate in which mayor Phil Silver threatened to take action against Cr Johnson after he described the alternative proposal to redirect the sale proceeds to the surf club as a ‘bribe’.

But in the end, Cr Johnson voted with all other councillors for Cr David Wright’s motion to redirect the sale proceeds to the surf club after Cr Johnson’s motion was shot down 7–3, with only Crs Sharon Cadwallader and Sue Meehan backing it.

Lennox Head Chamber of Commerce president Louise Owen again appealed to councillors, saying council should sell other land it owned first before a prime block, which should be retained for the benefit of all locals and visitors.

Ms Owen questioned why there had been no community consultation on the sale of the land, which was ‘paid for by our rates, it’s our land and the community is saying don’t sell it’.

’I ask again why is it being sold and for whose benefit?’

12,000 against

She said more than 12,000 people had signed a petition against it and seven community groups had voiced opposition.

‘Once it’s sold, it’s gone forever and will be filled with cabins to earn more money for the state government, not the local area.’

The government-owned Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park has been using the blocks of land in Ross Street for several years for storage and a laundry facility under an arrangement with council.

The proposed sale has been mired in controversy from the start with the issue brought before council for a vote several times this year, including a failed rescission motion.

General manager Paul Hickey also came under flak for an alleged conflict of interest because of his friendship and business partnership with the administrator of the North Coast Holiday Parks Trust, Jim Bolger, with whom he used to work at Byron Shire Council.

Local government minister and Ballina MP Don Page became involved, saying he had investigated the conflict claim and was advised there was no link between the Ross Street land and the land Mr Hickey and Mr Bolger had jointly invested in at Angels Beach.

Cr Silver, whose casting vote initially was crucial in approving the sale, said during yesterday’s debate he had been willing to change his mind when he came to yesterday’s meeting but after hearing further argument on the issue, decided to stick to the sale.

Cr Wright said after the debate he believed that ‘in the long run people will be satisfied with the outcome’.

He said council would now direct $50,000 toward temporary emergency repairs at the surf club, allocate $200,000 for planning and design for the club’s redevelopment, fund a review of the 10-year-old Lake Ainsworth Management Plan, with the remainder quarantined for future surf club government-grant applications.

A previous motion to quarantine the money for the surf club redevelopment had failed at an earlier council meeting.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Interview with Mell Coppin and Zara Noruzi, from Byron Comedy Festival

Byron Bay Comedy Festival: Bringing in the Laughs. Last year wiped out our entire entertainment program, but while things aren’t completely back to normal, it’s looking up. The easing of COVID-19 Public Health restrictions means that smaller events are back!

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Aged Care Fail

Our aged care system is broken. We didn’t need a Royal Commission to tell us that many of our old people have been abused by the system that is supposed to care for them. But now we have hard evidence that we are failing our elders. Some of the data that has been released is shocking. One in five residents have experienced sexual or physical abuse.

Sowing the seed for a connected, local food chain

Lisa Machin If you’ve ever been to the New Brighton or Mullum Farmers Markets you’d be forgiven if you thought you were seeing double. Over the...

The moveable feast

David Lowe There’s never been a better time to revisit the classic picnic and its many variants. With many venues moving to focus on outdoor dining...