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Only one side of the Lake Road story told

Dr Lyn Walker, Lennox Head.

Your piece on Sunday’s protest at Lake Road, Lennox Head,  is a very one sided article.

Three long-standing community groups – Ballina Environment Society, Lennox Head Land Care and Lennox Head Residents Association – support what has been a council resolution voted on nine times since 2006.

The three pro road closure councillors who stood for re-election last year were returned with massive majorities. Not so those two who campaigned on keeping the road open.

All consultants reports and council plans since 2000 have confirmed problems with the east road, most notably safety concerns for recreational users ,especially children, and environmental concerns for riparian zones and stormwater management. All expert consultants and scientists recommend no parking there.

There has been considerable misinformation from Keep the Road Open group, ranging from level of support in the community to misunderstanding of scientific data regarding the lake health. They have consistently tried a push polling type of approach claiming restricted access for all sorts of people but, most despicably, that the disabled will not have access to the lake despite frequently published plans showing the contrary.

They have had many opportunities to convince council with their arguments and have failed to do so. Most local shops displayed their petition the first time around but very few are now displaying their rally flyers. They persistently bother holiday makers.

They have in the past proposed bulldozing into the protective dunes and still propose filling in the lake to make more room so that they can park in that very narrow space.
In the last few weeks and days there has been vandalism, calls for sabotage, support for over 50 per cent illegal parking in that fragile environment.

It’s not a community group, it seldom bothers to identify or authorise its handiwork, its a rabble.


9 responses to “Only one side of the Lake Road story told”

  1. Len Heggarty says:

    Dr Lyn,
    Thanks for filling us in.

    • Simon Jones says:

      Sorry Lyn, time to set some truths free!

      Council technical staff, the ones with degrees in environmental science, engineering and town planning recommend the road remain with improvement works. Consistent lobbying of Councillors from the likes of those wanting the road closed convinced Council to vote against their own technical staff recommendations.

      Your claims are a very clever form of “green washing” Your argument about water quality was disproven.(check beach watch water quality data via;

      http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/beach/starratingnorthcoast.htm Council staff have also conducted water quality testing for many other types of nasties, including hydrocarbons (petroleum based products) with absolutely no adverse findings. Ballina Council staff will back this up.

      So the argument has now moved to safety issues which are a farce (more on that shortly).

      For those that truly care for our local environment, please see Associate Professor David Lloyd speak about this issue via following you tube link.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqVNF3gI1sM&t=14s

      Did you know Ballina Shire Council revealed plans (only today) that the magnificent Melaleuca’s, the ones that provided wonderful shade to our former markets, will be removed (the markets Ms Walker lobbied to have relocated from the lake on baseless claims) Yes, sorry to report that Council plan to cut down the Melaleuca’s to appease a vocal few.

      At every Ballina Shire Council meeting, the first item is a verbal recognition of the traditional owners of the land, the local Bundjalung mob, yet Council did not engage with the local Aboriginal community in an area of known Aboriginal significance? Deeds not words usually work best!

      The group calling for the area to remain undisturbed (of which I’m a member) put a compromise plan to Council, even though our main priority is to keep the area undisturbed.

      No trees were to be removed, and no impact to the dunes, yet Ms Walker tout’s contrary claims! Appalling!

      I’m not sure how long Ms Walker has lived in the area, but the water level of the lake is governed by rainfall. The fact the road is falling into the lake is A. Council have neglected upkeep on the road despite the funds they receive annually from the state government in their caretaker role and B. the water level has been above average for the last few years. The road has actually stabilised the bank from further erosion and I’ve seen the Lake well over the road and seeping through the dunes into the ocean in the 1980’s.

      Regarding Council elections, at a public forum called “Meet the Candidate” 5-Sep-2016 before the local government elections, the Mayor David Wright, acknowledging this contentious issue and stated “we could have done the public consultation better”. Once Mr Wright was re-elected however, this statement and any actions behind it disappeared.

      As for safety, all traffic will be diverted to the western road that runs between the caravan park and the lake. The caravan park that is full of hundreds of kids in peak periods kids who can’t wait to run across the road and get wet. Cars will also traverse the unsealed western road, an area of pristine flora & fauna that has not been disturb……..as yet!

      The West lake Ainsworth Vegetation plan, authored by CoastCare a Federal, State & Local Govt co-operative states;

      “vegetation on the western side of Lake Ainsworth is reasonably pristine and unaffected by many of the serious environmental weeds affecting other coastal areas in the Shire”

      the plan goes on to say “few people use this area compared with the northern and eastern shores consequently, human impacts are low” That will change dramatically!

      A copy can be found via https://www.ballina.nsw.gov.au/page.asp?f=RES-CWZ-08-23-26

      Ms Walker also claims we are not a community group, so it’s only fair I provide quick summary of the diversity of our group, those of us wanting the present environment left untouched include members from multiple local community groups and entities including but not limited to,

      Lennox Head Surf Life Saving Club
      Lennox Head Residents Association
      Dune Care
      Friends of Lake Ainsworth (who kindly pick up rubbish weekly)
      Club Lennox (Lennox Head Bowling Club)
      LeBa (Lennox Ballina Boardriders Club)
      Lennox Head Lions Club
      Lennox Head Football Club
      Lennox Head Chamber of Commerce
      Lennox Head Medical Centre

      We surveyed almost 500 homes with 97% wanting the area to remain as is. We obtain over 2,000 physical signatures on a petition and over 1,000 online via change.org and the response from council has been zip, and those wanting the road excavated suggest our petition is not legal. Any wonder a couple of passionate punters have made illegal signs (which I don’t condone) to vent their frustration.

      And lastly, one of our members is a paraplegic, he is the one who has advised us that hills and sharp drop offs on the Southern end are not suitable for him and others in his similar, unfortunately position. Despicable indeed!!!

      Time to preserve and protect, please come to the rally 10:30am this Sunday Feb 12

      Thanks for reading, more to come if the truth is breached again!!

      • Mark Sollom says:

        Good on you Simon & other sane parties working to keeping this access open. I have had enough of the killjoy, guilt based industries that make it harder for us average Joes’ to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and I will be very happy to join you at the protest on Sunday. It’s time to stand up to these miseries.

  2. Dr Dolittle says:

    Thanks for motivating me to attend the protest on Sunday.

  3. D Kay says:

    As a Bundjalung woman I applaud the Ballina Council in closing the road, this special place needs protecting for our children’s future.

    • Simon Jones says:

      Hi D Kay,

      I agree, this special place does need protection.

      Are you aware that Council intend to cut down the large magnificent Melaleuca’s on the eastern side of the road?

      See plans released on Ballina Council website yesterday. Those trees provide shade, a wonderful ambiance and help protect the dunes from coastal erosion and the pacific ocean penetrating the Lake.

      Council intends to rip up the road and replace it with a concrete path as well!

      Councils own rules (LEP) state that any area of known Aboriginal significance should have archaeological surveys conducted and consultation with Aboriginal land Councils before any excavation works commence.e
      The Western Road, where Council intend to divert traffic, is the pathway for wallabies and the eastern long neck turtle that come off the adjacent Jali land and is presently the most pristine part of the precinct.

      Knowledge is power, come down on Sunday Feb 12 at 10:30am to hear more info and share some of yours.

      There will also be some fantastic Indigenous artists playing music as part of a peaceful protest and information session.

      Direct consultation with the whole community, not hard to find notices, is all we have ever asked for and the real locals, your crew, should have been number 1 on Councils list. You managed the place just fine for a 100 thousand years or more. Thanks for reading.

  4. Lavender says:

    “Knowledge is power, come down on Sunday Feb 12 at 10:30am to hear more info and share some of yours.”

    What a laugh Simon – when you and your band of followers haven’t taken the trouble to be involved over the past few years when Council has made information available and there’s been community consultations. I wonder how many of your people sent in comments when publicly called?

    And over this past year when knowledge and information concerning Council’s plans has been shared it’s been mis-interpreted or ignored. Examples – (1) the claim that wheelchair access will be diminished. The parkland will have wheelchair accessible pathways, that will join picnic tables and picnic table bases will be constructed so as to allow people using wheelchairs the appropriate space at the tables. (2) The existing toilets at the northern end of the precinct will not be removed despite your supporter’s grafittied claim earlier this week. In fact they will be made wheelchair accessible.

    Probably what will be heard at your rally will be ill-informed opinions served up to please people ignoring the reliable information supplied by Council and/or opposed to change.

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