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Byron Shire
September 17, 2021

14-storey Lennox ski jump a blight

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Charlie Hewitt, Lennox Head.

Touting ‘economic benefits’ as the justification for a 14-storey-high ski jump on the dunes at Lennox Head is nonsensical and offensive. Spend $10m on a small handful of elite athletes in an obscure sport who might occasionally buy food and accommodation for a few months of the year.

In return our community suffers a huge permanent eyesore that despoils natural assets that attract thousands of paying tourists all year; intensifies development in the catchment of a fragile coastal lake; and is severely exposed to coastal erosion hazard, corrosive salt air, highly brackish groundwater, and persistent strong coastal winds.

Furthermore, it is contemptuous to spout economic platitudes without presenting figures. On that note, it might be easier to spend the $10m on raising the Lismore flood levee or local employment training – no need to massage those numbers to demonstrate economic benefit.

This ski jump was fully approved and funded in Queensland in 2011. If the numbers are so rosy, why did Campbell Newman, that proud bastion of economic rationalism, scrap it immediately on coming to power?

NSW Sport is trying to foist Queensland’s rejects on our community. Despite owning this wonderful facility on a prime piece of coastal land for years, NSW Sport are so inept that they still record unacceptable losses there. So they lunged at this abandoned project in a desperate and unimaginative attempt to justify their continued management of the site.

Yes, so inept they recently had to back-pedal desperately when photomontages of this monstrosity were met with dismay and derision. Of course the images were checked and approved for release, but NSW Sport lied about ‘misinformation being spread’ and doctored the images for re-release – it now looks monstrous from far away and they look deceitful close up.

Finally, expect but don’t fall for a blackmail attempt from NSW Sport like ‘If you block this, we’ll just sell the land to developers’. There are countless ways this prime piece of coastal land could be used, with positive economic and social returns, in the hands of competent creative managers.

Maintain the rage, Lennox.

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  1. Charlie is absolutely spot on – a ski jump monstrosity at Lennox is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard of for quite some time. What madman thought this up??

  2. If the state government has $10 million to spend and wants to benefit the local economy, how about a state of the art emergency department for Ballina Hospital? The whole shire shares the benefits, not just the 15 or so in the Olympic ski team.

  3. There is no need to question the economic justification of this. Lake Ainsworth is a delicate environment, an attractive place in an attractive setting, and it holds many memories for many people because of the low-key fitness camp there, and any development in its vicinity needs to be limited. The economic benefits do not warrant the aesthetic and other environmental damage to such an iconic and attractive coastal place. Let’s focus on visitor investments that take advantage of our beautiful Shire in a way that is sensitive to its environment. A coastal cycle route that is part of the NSW coastal cycle route and links to the the proposed NR rail trail would be a much better investment.


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