Keith Williams, Ballina
At their final meeting before the election, Ballina councillors decided to approve the largest development proposal in the shire’s history with Cumbalum Part A and B. Why the rush?
Part A has always been the next area to develop. A week previously, Part B did not have the support of a majority of councillors. Why? Because it throws out 10 years’ worth of planning and its negative impact on Lennox Head and the critical fish habitat in North Creek are yet to be resolved.
Some councillors spouted nonsense about creating jobs even though Part A provides enough new land to meet demand for at least the next 10 years.
Others said we have to do it or the state government will take over. Again nonsense.
This comes at the end of a year of one disastrous decision after another.
Porter Park and the Lennox Head land sale come to mind. Rushed decisions that have not been thought through.
The major environmental concern of Part B is its impact on North Creek. The council resolution uses the weasel words of ‘no unreasonable negative impact’ on downstream users.
This is no comfort to the last remaining oyster growers who are already struggling with the highly acidic, dirty water flowing down North Creek.
Ballina, derived from the local Aboriginal name for ‘the place of many oysters’, may soon not grow any oysters.
We need to improve water quality in the estuary to maintain its ability to grow fish. Both our tourism industry and our professional fishers rely on this. These are the real jobs put at risk by this unseemly rush.