PM Carter, President, PLAInc
The community has the right to be angry after Ballina Council at its meeting on September 1 voted to close the Lake Ainsworth Eastern Road, effectively reducing the access for disabled, aged and families to enjoy the eastern side of the Lake.
With a handful of community members, Council has ignored the requests of the broader community, police, RFS and ambulance to maintain the Eastern Road and improve the whole lake area.
The embankments of the lake and the surrounding area’s decayed state is a result of 20+ years of Council’s neglect.
Led by the mayor they ignored 4,369 individual letters, plus a further 80 sent by email to keep the Eastern Road open.
From the comments of Councillors in favour of the road closure, out of the approximately 150 supporters asking to keep the road open (probably over 90 per cent of the public majority attending) many could be forgiven for feeling there was a predisposition of bias against their request – some left in disgust.
The Coastal Reserve Plan of Management (2003/2011, formally gazetted by the minister) directs ‘Implement Lake Ainsworth Management Plan (2002)’. The proposed removal of the Eastern Road is inconsistent with the adopted plan of management.
The result of closing the Eastern Road will be more traffic and parking spilling into the nearby residential areas and more people moving further around to the southern and western sides of the lake.
A big thankyou to those courageous councillors, Ben Smith, Keith Williams, Stephen McCarthy and Eoin Johnston, who have supported the broader community to keep the Eastern Road open.