21.3 C
Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Ballina Council meeting short and sweet

Latest News

‘Hollywood’ drug squads over the top

I guess we have to thank Hollywood for the enduring myth that a black-clad squad of elite 'blokes', preferably with cool helicopters, from the capital are needed to crack down on really serious crime in hick parts of the country like Mullumbimby.

Other News

Cartoon of the week – 24 February, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Will the Lennox Park pavilion survive?

Ballina Shire Council will today debate the future of the Lennox Park pavilion/dressing shed, which is slated for removal as part of the Lennox Village Vision concept plan.

Cult Covid

John Scrivener, Main Arm A careful analysis of Cult Covid must clearly distinguish between four separate and distinct yet interconnected...

Wonderful Council

Raphael Lee Cass, Byron Bay I went for a swim at Belongil Beach the other day and was shocked to...

Ready for Byron’s latest massive development on Jonson St?

The changing face of Byron as Gold Coast and Sydney developers move in to recreate the look and feel of the town with intense development proposals.

Saltwater mob style

Story & photo Melissa Butters If you’ve ever tasted the wild fish rillettes from The Bay SmokeHouse you know what’s...

Lennox Rise development discussed at October’s Ballina Council meeting.

It was a sweet result at Ballina Shire Council’s October meeting, for developers at least, with support for some long-delayed projects.

Unusually for Ballina, the whole meeting was over by lunchtime.

Items up for discussion included tenders for surf schools, the Lennox Rise development, disabled beach access, the council audit, and vandalism around Lake Ainsworth.

Crs Nathan Willis and Sharon Parry were absent, with Cr Jeff Johnson joining the meeting via Skype.

Old restaurant to be demolished at Shaws Bay

The long-running dispute over what to do with the site at 23 Compton Drive East Ballina was resolved with council agreeing unanimously to allow the demolition of the old restaurant at Shaws Bay and rezone the land, with a view to the owner lodging a new DA for a dwelling on the site.

Cr Sharon Cadwallader said the position of the council was, ‘If we don’t rezone this property, what will we do with it?’

She said she was satisfied that community concerns had been addressed, with the steps adjoining the property to remain open to the public and in council ownership, vegetation losses to be addressed and the building height reduced from 8.5 to 6 metres.

Old restaurant on 23 Compton Drive. Photo David Lowe.

Cr Ben Smith said he had general concerns about gradient and stability of the site, ‘but given technical reports it looks like that ticks the boxes.’

Cr Keith Williams said he was disappointed that the site could no longer be used as a refreshment house, but ‘at the moment it’s an eyesore, this is the best outcome we can achieve for this site.’

He said the new building would potentially complement all the other ‘wonderful work we’re doing in Shaws Bay. We don’t need a burned out derelict building sitting in the middle of that’.

Council books in the black

Accountant Geoff Dwyer gave councillors a presentation on the state of their finances, noting that despite the impacts of COVID-19, Ballina’s accounts were in good health.

Finances looking rosy in the land of the Big Prawn. Photo David Lowe.

He said the financial statement showed no mis-statements or irregularities.

In terms of profit and loss for the year, the overall result showed a $25.3 million surplus ($17 million lower than last year, despite $3m in additional rates).

Mr Dwyer said Ballina Council’s cash and investments totalled $93.5 million.

Mayor David Wright thanked him for his report, saying ‘You’re always welcome when there’s good news!’

Rural function centres

Council endorsed proposed amendments to the Ballina Local Environmental Plan relating to function centres in rural areas, which include 14 days per year for the use of these venues for weddings and similar events, rather than the existing 51.

Cr Johnston supported this change, but said monitoring and compliance remained a problem.

Council staff-member Matt Wood said the new planning proposal had time limited consents in place, which meant if people were doing the right thing over three years they could get another one, but if an operator was not behaving well, they could be stopped immediately.

Cr Cadwallader said the amendments would provide certainty for proponents, and save energy, time and money to all parties, including council.

Cr Williams said it was ‘great we’re getting a handle on this.’

Wheelchair access to Lighthouse Beach

Council resolved to support, in principle, the construction of a compliant accessible beach access ramp adjacent to the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Lifesaving Club, where the gradient is currently too steep for wheelchairs.

Cr Eoin Johnston. Photo supplied.

Cr Eoin Johnston said, ‘We have to go forward with this’ and acknowledged the wonderful fundraising work of Tracy Everingham and others who have been working on the problem.

A number of options for the design of the path were discussed, including a zigzag and direct option, as well as the already purchased Mobi-Mat (for temporary wheelchair access to beaches).

Although each approach presented problems, Cr Johnston noted, ‘These are nothing compared to the problems of people in wheelchairs, denied a simple pleasure and delight we all take for granted.’

Cr Williams said, ‘Let’s not hang about too long for grant funding, but push along with design and development, let’s not slow this down. It’s frustrating for all concerned.’

Cr Cadwallader talked about accessible ramps at Lake Ainsworth and Shaws Bay and the great opportunities for accessible tourism, not just in Ballina Shire.

Pollution of Ballina Marina Trawler Harbour

Cr Meehan said he’d received complaints about people living on boats in the harbour who might be dumping waste. ‘Is it going into the water? And if so whose responsibility was it?’

Council staff said they would have to check re jurisdictional oversight.

Boat-owner Cr Keith Williams said regulation of grey water was done by NSW Maritime, with all boats legally required to have a holding tank sufficient for the waste of the number of people on vessels, and with this needing to be discharged to a legal discharge point (of which there are none in Ballina) or discharged a mile and a half off-shore.

Following this was a discussion about the continued fallout from the Alstonville Cultural Centre being leased to Byron Studios with inadequate community consultation, and the mayor’s claim that the Tibouchina Club at least were happy to being relocated to Rous Mill Hall.

‘I don’t know of any group that wasn’t consulted,’ said Mayor Wright. ‘Arrangements were offered that they would be re-housed at a different place.’

The rest of the meeting was taken up with discussion of capital expenditures, plans for the new RFS shed and childcare centre for the top of Hutley Drive (the plan is for the existing childcare facility at Lennox Cultural Centre to also continue), and the replacement of wooden bridges in the west of the shire.

Lake Ainsworth vandalism

Crs Phil Meehan and Sharon Cadwallader discussed ongoing concerns about vandalism around the lake (including fires, broken glass, illegal structures).

Cr Cadwallader said, ‘The Friends of Lake Ainsworth have great concerns because it’s ongoing. Staff have worked extremely well with them to keep on top of it, but it feels like more needs to be done.’

She discussed plans to put in closed circuit camera ‘to find out who is responsible and nip it in the bud.’


Ballina Shire mayor David Wright. Photo supplied

In a discussion about citizenship ceremonies (which have moved online for the pandemic), Mayor David Wright said, ‘People have been crying and very emotional. I can say a few words and someone becomes an Australian citizen.

‘It’s a huge thing, to do that. And some people have waited seventeen years.  It’s a very good process.’

He said the ceremonies were expected to return to being public by Australia Day.

After emerging from confidential session, where the details of COVID-19 funding relief was discussed, General Manager Paul Hickey noted that council had decided to continue this relief until the end of 2020 (a number of groups and individuals have had fees withdrawn or reduced in recent months due to the impact of the pandemic).

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. In reference to David Wright’s comment regarding the ALEC issue.
    “I don’t know of any group that wasn’t consulted,’ said Mayor Wright”
    Hello…that group called the “Alstonville Community”..
    Mr Wright…know that mob in that village that live on the escarpment overlooking Ballina…
    They weren’t properly consulted…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Local fisherfolk caught in the parking fine net

FIsherfolk have been caught in the net of parking fines designed to stop travellers parking up for the night on the Tweed Coast Road and they are seeking help to access their beaches at night without fines.

Family Court scrapped

Despite overwhelming opposition from Australia’s family law specialists and advocates, the federal Liberal-Nationals government and cross benchers scrapped the Family Law Court and subsumed it into the circuit courts last week.

Cavanbah centre gets a taste of 3×3 basketball

The Byron Beez basketball team in collaboration with the U League hosted a 3x3 tournament at the Cavanbah centre at the end of January that attracted 30 teams.

Northern Rivers policeman accused of youth assault acquitted

Magistrate Michael Dakin has ordered a common assault charge against a former Byron-based policeman be dropped after an altercation involving a naked youth in Byron Bay three years ago.