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Byron Shire
January 29, 2022

Lake Ainsworth’s pro-road group blamed for vandalism

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Pro-road supporters have taken to illegal graffiti to vent their anger.

A Ballina shire councillor has slammed supporters of the ‘save our road’ group at Lennox Head for the serial vandalising of footpaths and a toilet block at Lake Ainsworth where a family park is planned as part of improvements.

Lennox-Head based Cr Jeff Johnson said it was not the first time such graffiti had been spray-painted on the facilities by what he described as ‘desperate’ and ‘increasingly aggressive’ supporters who wanted to stop studies on the project going on public exhibition.

‘This has happened either before or directly after Ballina Council has debated this issue,’ Cr Johnson said.

‘Some responsibility must fall on the core members of this group who continue to mislead the wider community about the proposed Lake Ainsworth improvement initiatives and what the process is moving forward.

‘Currently various studies are being completed as part of a development application to transform the eastern foreshore of the Lake into a family friendly community park.

‘Other components of the proposal include the formalisation of the southern road parking, improved pedestrian safety, storm water management, erosion control measures, environmental plantings, additional disabled parking, BBQ facilities, a shared path etc.

‘Once the studies and application has been completed there will be public meetings and an extensive consultation process so that as many members of our community as possible can see the proposal and make submissions based on the facts rather than the information contained in a factually incorrect petition or the words of a stranger who comes knocking at their door.

‘The current situation of claim and counter claim will never heal the divide that has been created within the Lennox community over this issue, the only way to heel that rift is for everyone to see what is being proposed once the designs and studies have been completed, said Cr Johnson

‘Why is the ‘save our road’ group and their newly found ‘champion’ Cr Keith Williams so desperate to stop the studies and planning reports from being completed and put on public exhibition?

‘Is it because this increasingly aggressive group realises that once the public sees what is proposed their campaign of misinformation will be seen for what it is?’


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  1. Wake up Jeff.

    In return let us reciprocally slam Jeff Johnson for his righteous attitude which has contributed to the divisions in the community. Jeff and his ‘mightier than thou’ mates at the Lennox Head Resident’s Association have constantly talked down to others and disregarded the opinion of many members of the community.

    In reply some have taken to graffiti, I don’t agree with this, but it could be a symptom of the suppression of their views. Cr Johnson needs to have a look in the mirror, and consider how he might be contributing to the tensions at Lennox and pee’ing people off. He often acts with the demure of the ‘Mayor of Lennox’. My advice is he starts representing all the local community, not just his mates in Ballina and those who have stacked local committees.

    Upon leaving, the outgoing President of the Residents’ Association warned against “establishing a culture of conflict and an aggressive approach in the Association’s style of operation.” Wise words indeed but words that seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

  2. I am part of the Preserving Lake Ainsworth, Non-profit Incorporated group which opposes the road closure and DOES NOT support any such vandalism. “…blamed for vandalism is a very misleading heading, but sensationalism in journalism is not new, that’s how they roll these days.

    The impact this road closure will have, is absolutely HUGE. The health of the lake, it’s ecological systems, the safety of pedestrians, western heathlands and associated fauna, the entire township as a functioning Village and access for elderly & disabled just to name a few. The congestion and motor vehicle/pedestrian/wildlife interaction will be very ordinary to say the least and will be on the Councillors heads as they went against technical staff (the smart ones) recommendations.

    Yet Cr Johnson is hell bent on bringing in the excavators/chainsaws (yes those beautiful shade trees are going) BEFORE a FULL study of the entire lake is undertaken. the councillors in their wisdom did agree to undertake a fully study and plan of the entire Lake area, but they are not waiting for that, they want to get those bulldozers rolling before the full study and plan are complete.

    Misleading the wider community indeed Jeff……..shame on you son!

    Lennox and it’s locals usually flow pretty well……or use to….thanks Jeff!

  3. Would a Greg Webber wave pool set up work here as a part of the lake?

    Not just for captive paid groups of the govt run facility but for the whole local and visitor community?

    We surf here and this would help reduce problems at crowded surf spots, while ugly ski jumps are better for the snow country, not here.

    Greg is currently building a new wave pool on the upper Gold Coast which is Australian and very different to any done before, world wide, amazing stuff. These wave pools are the future..and they have no shark dangers either. Prices to do this have dropped by half already as well, and there is reasonable income to support this.

    Also, the govt land on and near the lake is large enough to do something there too, not in the current lake. What do you reckon?

  4. Not many would trust the council or believe a word they say after the strange debacle of the proposed ski jump. I also doubt anyone has forgotten that a council proposal to chop the beautiful lakeside trees down was sneakily passed the day before the road was supposed to be closed in January.

    Most importantly, it already is a ‘family friendly community park’. But if the road is shut: (1) Families will no longer be able to access it because they will not be able to carry all their stuff along the lake side (especially single parents or mums that take their kids for a swim in the summer) (2) The police will not be able to patrol the area, subsequent anti-social behavior will occur and the lake will never feel safe or family friendly again (3) None of this excuses spray paint vandalism by a nutter (4) The councilor who wrote to the Echo last December describing driving around the lake on summer nights to check on caravan park tourists parking around the lake also sounded like a nutter (5) It’s all very well to dismiss the petition but what about the hundreds of Lennox Head residents who marched in protest on the hottest day of the year?

    Give it up. Leave the lake alone and give us all a rest.

  5. I heard and observed Cr Johnson making similar comments about the Save our Road supporters at the recent Council meeting. I took offence to his comments likening us to vandals,liars and agitators, but as there had been quite a bit of heckling from the gallery I decided to hold my tongue.

    His statement ‘Some responsibility must fall on the core members of this group who continue to mislead the wider community about the proposed Lake Ainsworth improvement initiatives and what the process is moving forward’ is to me disrespectful.

    How does he know that the graffiti was inspired by our comments. How do we know that this stunt wasn’t committed by Council supporters (with his approval) in order to turn public opinion against us. Stop being disrespectful to us Cr Johnson and let the issue take it’s proper course as directed by Council.

  6. Cr Jeff Johnson needs to look closer to home on who’s caused the ‘aggression’ and ‘divide’ in the community. His supporters in the Lennox Head Resident’s association has been warned against “establishing a culture of conflict and an aggressive approach in the Association’s style of operation” recently by it’s outgoing President. The fact that they have to receive a warning shows that something’s wrong with thier community communication skills. http://lennoxwave.com/2017/03/new-residents-association-committee/

    I couldn’t care less about the lake road, but am sick of righteous committee stackers and councillors that can’t consult, talking down to the community and treating many with contempt. This contempt for the average resident is what has causes tension in the community, and graffiti may just be a symptom from those who’s voice has been suppressed.

    Ironically, whilst Cr Johnson complains about graffiti that offends him, he remains silent on the sand-mine looming environmental disaster DA in Lennox. Jeff Johnson’s priorities are glowingly misplaced on real environmental issues.

  7. ”The current situation of claim and counter claim will never heal the divide that has been created within the Lennox community over this issue…” (1) The `divide’ has been created by Cr Johnson. But he shouldn’t kid himself. There is near universal opposition to his scheme. As evidenced by the protest march and rally last summer.

    “the only way to heel that rift is for everyone to see what is being proposed once the designs and studies have been completed, said Cr Johnson” (2) The simple way to heal the imagined `rift’ is to drop the road closure proposal and leave the people who quietly and respectfully enjoy the lake area each week in peace.

    “Why is the ‘save our road’ group and their newly found ‘champion?’ Cr Keith Williams so desperate to stop the studies and planning reports from being completed and put on public exhibition?” (3) Cr Keith Williams is advocating on behalf of the wishes and best interests of his community. That is his job and is what he was elected to do. As opposed to conducting a personal crusade to close access to a much-loved community park.

    Nobody wants the hassle of protesting. Instead of wasting rate payer money on town planning drawings and `studies’ please give your one-eyed agenda up. Enough people have protested on the main street to prove that your scheme isn’t wanted by the vast majority of residents. Disagree? Then why not organize a close the road rally? I doubt twelve will attend and that will be the end of the matter.

  8. The councilor is stoking social division for political gain. This is a key tactic of the Coalition, the Republicans, Conservative and right-wing politicians everywhere. To be clear, the councilors Green credentials are a scam/sham (think Rose the Byron Bay realtor/Green politician). As is the Green veneer of the close the road minority.

    Whoever did the graffiti should stop. It plays into this tricky politicians’ hands. And it is tricky to post all your articles/propaganda at noon in the Echo on a Friday to hog the weekend headline and ensure the truth/comments won’t get in the way of your agenda until Monday.

    Clearly, after the lake road parking area is closed many parking places will be lost and metered parking will be introduced to Lennox Head. This will effectively stop people from outside the Shire visiting Lennox Head. People from the Shire will be able to buy a parking permit at a low introductory fee to curtail dissent. As per Byron Bay.This will stop the yucky people and Ballina types from visiting Lennox Head. Then the imaginary Mayor and a cohort of imaginary upper-class Lennox Head residents will have domain over the town. Which is what closing the road is all about.

    Its goodbye yucky people… and good riddance to the Australian values of fairness and egalitarianism. Unless everyone who uses the lake attends the next protest. The lake is a community asset which belongs to the whole North Coast community. Not the imaginary upper-class Mayor.

  9. I can’t wait for Council to get on with it and create the green space already. Really looking forward to not have to battle cars, or see the bitumen falling into the Lake.


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