Story & Photo Eve Jeffery
Three years ago Louise Owen was given the ultimate gift when she was the recipient of a donor heart. After the transplant Louise’s surgeon said ‘Your heart is fabulous’.
‘It’s all about the donation and the donor having that sense of mind to want to be a donor and not knowing when your time is up, but you have decided to be a donor. That’s a big thing. You don’t know who is going to receive your heart. It’s an absolutely open gift.
‘I don’t have any prejudices for anyone. If you’re an organ donor you’re on my list no matter what. I don’t care.’
Louise had another very close call last March when she was involved in a head-on collision on her way to teach a first aid course in Casino. She was left with a broken ankle and her pelvis broken in two places and a seatbelt burn. Thankfully her new heart coped beautifully.
Lousie’s recovery has taken four months and she is really only just getting back on her feet now.
She is also getting back into her position as the president of the Lennox Head chamber of commerce, a position she has held for three years.
In that time she has been very vocal about development issues.
The recent sale of land near the main street of Lennox and the proposed new suburb to the east of the town are both a cause for concern for Louise.
She says she remains ‘totally against’ the sale of prime land near the surf club and she says for very good reason.
‘The “Green Corner” we call it. That is council-owned land. It was virtually given to Tintenbar Council. When Ballina and Tintenbar councils became one, it got handed over to Ballina Council.
‘Stupid’ Ballina Council decision
‘They have taken an unfortunate, parochial view of it and all of a sudden they now own everything and can do whatever they want with it. The fact is, it is one of the most congested areas of Lennox Head. And now the council has voted, stupidly, to sell that land back to the state government for the use of the caravan park.’
Ms Owen says that once the caravan park moves tourists onto the land, the extra people and parking will cause havoc in the town.
‘We as a community will have no say over what goes on that corner. They could build two-storey cabins. It’s prime beachfront land.
‘They sold the land for 1.3 million dollars – one of those blocks alone was worth 1.3 million.’
Louise says she is not totally opposed to development but she doesn’t want to see the town become overdeveloped.
‘I am happy to see some development as long as we have the infrastructure to support that development.’