Psst. Anyone want to buy a waterfall in Ballina shire?
The local council will tomorrow consider a report recommending that it sell land around Dalwood Falls, one of the most popular waterholes in the shire.
The council purchased four small allotments around the waterfall back in the 1970s as a way to secure access to a back-up water supply for the shire, although the site has not been used for that purpose for many years.
Instead, the waterhole has become a popular, albeit dangerous, place for young people, who flock there on a hot day to bathe in the waterhole and leap from the surrounding cliffs.
Following a death in January 2014 however, Ballina Shire Council staff convened a working group to assess the risks of Dalwood Falls, and two other waterfalls in the shire … Killen Falls and Tosha Falls.
Draft management plans are currently being prepared for Killen and Tosha Falls, but Dalwood Falls is not part of the waterfall management plan process.
Instead, council staff have been consulting with various stakeholders regarding the future of Dalwood Falls, with one of those outcomes being consideration of a sale.
The Jali Aboriginal Land Council has told the council that the site is of significance to the Aboriginal community, and is listed as a place of Aboriginal cultural significance on the Office of Environment and Heritage Information Management System.
Councillors tomorrow will consider whether to continue the existing management of the site or to make the properties available for sale.
‘Given the advice from the Jali LALC regarding the Aboriginal cultural heritage significance of the land, it is suggested there may be merit in further engaging with the Land Council about the possible transfer of the land,’ the report says.
The first recommendation to councillors tomorrow is to offer the land for sale to Jali LALC.
If the Land Council is not interested in buying the property, the second option is to authorise the council’s general manager to list the property for sale for three months to determine if there are any potential buyers.
If no offers are received, the third option is for the council to proceed with the preparation of a formal management plan for the site as the basis for the council’s ongoing management of the land.
For those who might be interested in owning the land (which has no building allotments), a property valuation was undertaken for the council back in December 2015.
That valuation listed the market value of the site as $70,000, noting that perceived public liability issues and the lack of dwelling entitlements were considered two major limitations in the overall value and marketability of the property.
The Ballina Shire Council meets tomorrow from 9am in the council chambers in Cherry Street, Ballina.