By Darren Coyne
The Ballina Shire Council will throw its support behind a BMX track at Lennox Head but councillors have rejected a proposal to build a surfable wave pool.
Greens Cr Jeff Johnson brought the BMX motion to the council and it received unanimous support after councillors heard from the young Lennox Head boys pushing for the track.
Angus MacDonald, Luca McInnes and Zayden Allen, from the Holy Family Primary School at Skennars Head have been working with the Lennox Residents Association and Cr Johnson to make the idea a reality.
Angus McDonald said a bike track would help keep bikes off the skatepark, which is too small and dangerous for both skaters and BMX riders.
Luca McInnes said a bike track would ‘give us somewhere to meet with our friends’, while Zayden Allen pointed out that ‘we wouldn’t be annoying our parents because we’d be busy and having fun doing jumps’.
Cr Johnson said a number of potential sites had been identified, including an area at the rear of Williams Reserve, and Council-owned land near the water reservoir off North Creek Road.
‘It’s great to support the guys with their proposal,’ Cr Johnson said.
‘Angus and Luca gave a fantastic deputation to the council and received applause from both people in the gallery and the Councillors, said Mr Johnson.
‘They have surveyed their fellow students and come up with a number of initiatives with the BMX track proposal gaining the most support.
‘There is land available and the costs are quite low, particularly given there is some excess fill that maybe available free of charge from local development activities such as the construction of the new sporting fields at Lennox.’
Meanwhile, a separate motion from Cr Keith Williams to investigate building a surfable wave pool in Ballina was soundly rejected.
Cr Williams wanted the council to consider a building a wave pool to combat the negative impact of shark attacks along the coastline.
He argued that while such a facility would be expensive, it could help put Ballina on the map as the safest surfing destination in Australia.
But his fellow councillors disagreed.
Cr Paul Worth slammed the idea, saying it should be killed off immediately.
‘It’s a waste of time and money and I’m embarrassed by the suggestion,” Cr Worth said.
Cr Jeff Johhson said such a facility would cost up to $20 million and would do little to accommodate the thousands of surfers who visited the area.
‘I’ve been pushing for an ocean pool which would provide families with a safe swimming experience and would be relatively inexpensive.
‘I can’t see the state government giving us money for a wave pool, and besides, it sends the message that our beaches are not safe,’ he said.
Cr Robyn Hordern, who was elected deputy mayor at yesterday’s meeting, also slammed the idea as ‘ridiculous’.
‘It’s just another headline and a negative headline at that,’ she said.
‘Let Wet and Wild (on the Gold Coast) do it.’