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Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

D-Day looms for Lake Ainsworth road

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Members of the group Preserving Lake Ainsworth together with the 4,000 letters supporting their cause. Photo PLA

The future of Lake Ainsworth’s eastern road is in the balance, with today being the deadline for submissions on the current plan to close it.

In a last-ditch attempt to persuade councillors to keep it open, members of Preserving Lake Ainsworth (PLA) have laid over 4350 letters supporting their cause end to end on the town’s basketball court, making a striking impression.

‘How can you call this a minority?’ asked group member Pip Carter.

‘It’s very impressive and something the council should not ignore as people are still continuing to sign,’ he added.

But the apparent popularity of the group’s cause does not appear to have changed the minds of two key councillors at least: Ballina Mayor David Wright and B ward representative and Lennox Head resident Jeff Johnson.

Mayor Wright has accused PLA of overstating the impact of removing the road and associated car parking spaces, telling Echonetdaily previously he was concerned about ‘information that is potentially misleading or incorrect’ being disseminated by the group.

In defending his position in an email to constituents over the weekend, Cr Johnson wrote that council had determined to move ahead with the plan some three years ago and that in the meantime ‘approximately 55 new parking spaces were created at a cost of over $500,000.’

‘There will also be additional parking spaces created when the southern road rehabilitation/infrastructure works are completed as part of the proposal,’ he added.

‘For me, the elephant in the room with the parking issue at Lake Ainsworth is the large number of caravan park cars that use the public parking spaces as a long-term car park during the peak holiday periods (when the public parking is in shortage).

‘Up to 100 parking spaces are currently not available to the public (locals and day trippers) during the peak holiday periods.

No overnight parking

Cr Johnson went on to say that as part of the proposal, he was pushing for the area around the lake ‘to have a no parking zone between 1am and 5am so that all of these parking spots are freed up’.

‘Having a no parking zone between 1am and 5am is quite common in popular areas to ensure there is no overnight camping and that public parking spaces are available during peak holiday/weekend periods, he added.

‘Once the up-to 100 caravan park cars are no longer there, I see this whole proposal as a win-win: those that want a safe, family friendly park along the eastern foreshore will be able to walk down there to enjoy that area; and all the parking spaces along the southern road next to the lake will be available for those who just want to park and jump straight into the water (including dedicated disabled parking places which currently don’t exist).

‘It’s a real shame that this issue has caused such friction within the Lennox and wider community with many people simply not talking about it in order to not get dragged into a heated and often polarised argument,’ Cr Johnson said.


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12 COMMENTS

  1. Why don’t the council(ors) respect the wishes of the sensible majority ratepayers whom they claim to represent. The only reason they are there is to implement the wishes of their constituents! They cannot be a law unto themselves and dismiss the wishes of the people!
    I regularly park on the subject road when visiting friends staying in the caravan park during busy holiday periods and never have a problem finding a park. Their reasons for wanting to close this road are dishonest and the true reason being hidden from the public! Are there developers in the wings perhaps??

  2. It escapes me how anyone who claims to love Lennox can promote car parking over people parking for the surrounds of Lake Ainsworth.

    To park 500 people theatre-style, with random access to and from any seat in the house, you need to allow around 1 square metre per person. 500 people equals 500 square metres. Think a suburban house block.

    To park 500 cars with anything like random access (think shopping mall car-park) you need to allow at least 35 square metres per car. 500 cars equals 35 similar house blocks.

    Pave paradise…

  3. Popularity could kill paradise. Stomp with big boots over the environment and put your camping chair down.
    Mankind is the king of the jungle until there is no environment left, and no lake.

  4. I have been approached by the people campaigning to keep the road open, as have many of my friends and local lennox residents. The sad thing is there is so much misinformation in their arguments that many were signing the petition and writing these letters without being properly informed. It’s not right.

  5. Cr Johnson reckons the 4350 people who have submitted a letter opposing the road closure have been misled. This implies they are a bit thick. But Its simply that the overwhelming majority of us like the lake as it is.

    The council asked for submissions on its proposal. They seem to have relied on our apathy not to make any. However, any hopes of holding up the submissions of the dozen pro close the road activists as support/ a fig leaf for its plan have evaporated.

    The council asked for submissions. They got them. 4350 submissions in opposition might a NSW state record.

    That’s on top of over 4,000 residents who signed a petition against the road closure and multiple demonstrations involving hundreds of residents .

    The council are looking isolated, undemocratic,and a bit strange.

    Not a good look.

    Please listen to the voters to whom you asked for a submission from.

    • Doesn’t imply they are a bit thick. It implies the “Keep he Road” lobby has used an old political trick to make it look like it has the numbers.

  6. David

    Tricked? Only the gullible or thick people are tricked.

    By any reasonable measure, it is undemocratic, out of touch and a bit strange to insist that 4350 people who made a submission, the 4000 residents who signed a petition, and several hundred demonstrators were tricked.

    And even more strange are those who wants to stop the elderly, disabled and families from having access to a lake where they have picnicked and swum at for generations without incident.

    • The Parkland proposal most likely would have attained a similar amount of signatures if similar tactics were used in attempting to muster support. Hopefully council will consider both options on their merits to deliver a result that promotes long term health of the Lake precinct and maintain /manage the public amenity.

  7. David writes

    ‘The Parkland proposal most likely would have attained a similar amount of signatures if similar tactics were used in attempting to muster support.’

    The last close the road event mustered six activists and a card table.

    The pro road activist’s wild claims include:

    1. Over 8,000 have been misled and tricked E.g. the total number of residents who have signed a petition and made a submission.

    2. Six close the road activists and a card table are a silent majority./ A silent majority of pro road supporters have been intimidated into silence by a bunch of old people and people in wheelchairs who swim and picnic at a lake.

    The proposal involves closing a single road. You are either for or against it. It’s not rocket silence. As it stands. Over 8,000 people ae against. Six people and a card table are for.

    David writes

    ‘Hopefully council will consider both options on their merit…’

    You would hope council will consider the wishes of the 4350 people who made a submission (as asked for by council). The 4,000 residents who signed petition. Several hundred people who have demonstrated against the road closure on multiple occasions.

    Failing that, hopefully the council will do the math and consider their pay packets

    Well done David. Keep up the good work with the high handed and ludicrous claims

  8. As a ratepayer of Lennox Head for 15 years this was my submission to Ballina Council-I agree with closing the eastern road at Lennox Head and giving it priority for pedestrians.
    1- A fire escape soft surface road from the Recreation Centre suitable for emergency vehicles should remain on eastern side.
    2: Wombat crossings or speed limiting devices or design on the western road as vehicles speed along that section .
    3: No Parking signs placed along most of the western road to stop access to lake on western side .
    4: No Lake Access signs or fences to stop people using the middle western to north western part of lake edge.
    5: Loading Zones spread around lake perimeter road to allow for drop off and pick up of people and gear.
    6: Mobility impaired ramps with associated parking.
    7: Wildlife Zone and sign for vehicle drivers on western road. Maximum speed 40kmh.
    8:Vehicle beach access restricted to only BALLINA Shire residents or approved businesses via leases.
    9: Increase vehicle beach access fees .
    10: Paid Parking for premium lake perimeter car parks and 4 hour limit 24/7. (To deter campers , caravan park patrons and give all a fair access to lake
    11: Bank erosion control and fences to keep the public out of regeneration areas
    12: Soft surface crossings from car parking area to lake . Bitumen is very hot on feet.
    13: Designate the whole south western road from Surf Club to north caravan park boundary as a Shared Zone . Designed to protect children and give priority to pedestrians instead of cars.
    14: Nose In angle parking for maximum car parking. Allow for longer camper van parking zone close to Surf Club .
    15: Allow for a pathway for bicycle riding on eastern perimeter with bike parking racks scattered all around the lake.
    16: Water bubblers spread around the lake.
    17: Ensure toilets are available in eastern , western and southern sections.
    18- Remove all lighting around lake or provide lighting that does not cause ‘lighting pollution ‘.Apply the appropriate Australian Standards https://www.lightingcouncil.com.au/files/Major%20revision%20of%20obtrusive%20%20lighting%20standard%20AS%204282.pdf

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