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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Ballina council to consider cleaning up beaches after flood events

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The Richmond River estuary at Ballina was rated F in a 2015 Ecohealth report. Photo environment.nsw.gov.au
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A Ballina shire councillor wants the council to clean up flood debris from local beaches and the Richmond River in the next 30 days, and to develop a clean-up policy for future flood events.

Cr Sharon Cadwallader has lodged a notice of motion for tomorrow’s meeting after being approached by members of the community wanting the areas cleaned up.

She acknowledged that the council resolved ‘many years ago’ not to provide a regular beach cleaning service because of limited resources.

But she argues that it is important to have a policy that clarifies the council’s level of service which could then be community to the community.

‘We have all been approached by people wanting us to provide this service based on the current condition of our beaches and a policy will help Councillors and staff answer the questions we receive,’ Cr Cadwallader said.

‘We do need to provide some level of service in respect to removing excess debris, as our beaches and foreshore areas are a major attraction for residents and tourists.’

Her motion calls on the council to undertake a one-off clean-up in the next 30 days of Lighthouse Beach, Shelley Beach, the Spit, and the Serpentine area of the river.

‘The estimated cost of this service, which is currently unknown, but is not likely to be significant, is to be offset by savings in other recurrent budgets, with the General Manager authorised to make those savings where necessary,’ she said

In response to the motion, staff have said that the council’s level of service, determined years ago, was to clear debris that was considered a risk to public health and safety.

‘In response to the recent weather events, staff have been regularly inspecting our beaches and undertaking the ongoing collection of debris in locations that may potentially cause a risk issue for beach users and swimmers. This mainly involves removal of debris in the surf zone,’ staff said.

Staff have also pointed out that funding for beach clean-ups was not available from the Federal .or state government under flood relief arrangements, and would therefore the council would be footing the bill.

‘Also the clean-up can interfere, to a certain extent, with natural processes as tree debris is a source of habitat for some fauna in the coastal dunes and the flood events are a source of replenishment for this,’ staff said.

The matter will be debated at tomorrow’s council meeting, which begins at 9am in the council chambers in Cherry Street..


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  1. I agree that a beach clean up of flood debris is needed.

    I think it is urgently needed at Lighthouse beach Ballina where debris has piled up on the ramp that lifesavers use to access the beach with there lifesaving vehicles and boats. This means that if there is an emergency, lifesaving vehicles cannot currently access the beach.


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