25.2 C
Byron Shire
January 18, 2022

Discontent rumbles on in Alstonville over film plans

Latest News

Community the big winner at Rotary Duck Race

The Richmond River at Fawcett Park in Ballina was full of colour on the weekend for the 30th Rotary Duck Race. The event has raised a quarter of a million dollars for charity over its history in Ballina.

Other News

Frontline health workers supported

It started, in classic Byron style, with a batch of bliss balls. The homemade treats were whipped up for the nurses at Byron Hospital by local, Sarah Armstrong, after she heard how challenging life had been for them during the Omicron outbreak.

The PM’s report from the National Cabinet meeting yesterday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has released a media statement about the meeting yesterday of the National Cabinet.

Stop Forestry Corporation causing ‘serious and irreversible harm’ to burnt out State Forests

A leaked report revealed that the independent report from the Natural Resources Commission’s to the NSW government to stop logging areas hardest hit by the Black Summer bushfires had been ignored.

Northern Rivers closing in on 1,000 daily COVID-19 cases

There were 962 COVID positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the Northern NSW Health District in the 24 hours up to 8pm 11 January.

An unexpected vote for two Rous representatives from Lismore Council

Last night the new Lismore City Council voted for two Councillors to represent Lismore on Rous County Council, even though the agenda was clear that Rous County Council voting had been excluded owing to the requirement for a minimum nomination period of 21 days.

Record breaking day of COVID deaths as Hillsong sings and dances the night away

As New South Wales breaks another COVID record with 29 lives lost in a single day, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet spoke to the media this morning with an update on the pandemic.

Community groups call cut on movie plans for Alstonville Cultural Centre. Image Pexels/Pixabay.

Since the publication of an open letter by a group of Alstonville community organisations unhappy with Ballina Council’s decision to lease the Alstonville Cultural Centre to Byron Studios, these groups remain unsatisfied with Council’s response.

Spokesperson Alan Bruce told Echonetdaily, ‘The letter itself was prepared by a small group of concerned citizens regarding BSC’s recent action.

‘We prepared the open letter and spoke with local organisations we knew were concerned about BSC leasing out our local community facility in a commercial transaction so that it will no longer operate as a community facility.

‘Those groups are the signatories of the open letter not any one individual. Many groups used the facility, albeit in a limited way since the emergence of the COVID 19 pandemic.

‘Other groups in the community couldn’t sign the open letter as they are either government bodies such as schools or groups that are quasi-government organisations. In those instances it is understandable that they are not permitted to publicly comment or be directly associated with groups critical of local, state or federal authorities.’

No access for three years

The commercial contract lasts for two years (with an option to extend), and one year is scheduled for refurbishment of the building, which means Alstonville will not have access to the centre for at least three years.

‘In the past various service clubs in the area have used the facility either to raise funds for local community groups e.g. Red Cross, Heartfelt House, local hospitals, victims of domestic abuse, aged care, disability services, RFS, Landcare and other wider concerns such as regional floods and bushfires,’ said Mr Bruce.

Alstonville Cultural Centre. Photo supplied.

‘Youth groups have used it for such activities as physical culture, gymnastics, and basketball. Schools and other groups have used it to provide activities for older citizens, performance, formal dinners, lunches for carers, etc.’

Critics of the new arrangement have pointed out that not only will the community lose the use of the facility, but funds that are raised using the facility will also no longer be available to the wider community.

Alan Bruce added that, ‘Our library will be moved we are told but we have no timeframe or location at this time.

‘A number of fairly vague commitments have been made by Council. Not unreasonably we expect firm commitments that Council promises made now will be delivered.

‘The Plateau community expects Council keep the community informed via a published quarterly report on the Community Centre situation, and a comprehensive annual report, including financial details relating to the Community Centre. Many of these details should have occurred in an appropriate and transparent consultative process before a decision was made.

‘We are told it was urgent and council had to act in the best interests of Ballina Shire.’

Further reasons for objection

Community members opposed to the Byron Studios lease agreement say:

  • If a ratepayer who had an urgent need to act decisively would Ballina Shire Council suspend or eliminate the DA process?
  • That many councillors were only given some idea of this specific proposal the Friday evening before the council meeting with no details.
  • That council proposed the site to the new tenants without any reference to the community prior to the decision having been made.
  • That some organisations were notified of BSC’s intentions before the matter became public and they were told not to comment until after the decision was made. This is not the sort of behaviour we find acceptable by our council.

Spokesperson Mr Bruce added that, ‘Two councillors at the September council meeting described Alstonville as dead or dying and needed urgent assistance.

‘One even went further to say that many of the groups using the facility were old or aged and that their organisations probably would cease to function after the three years had elapsed.

‘Unacceptable comments and those of us living on the Alstonville Plateau are very proud of our town. The council’s behaviour has created division in the community when, during this pandemic, we have stuck together.’

Although the community groups who signed the open letter are highly critical of Ballina Council, they noted that councillors Sharon Parry, Eoin Johnston, Ben Smith and Nathan Willis voted against the proposal, and say they are grateful for their stance.


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 COMMENT

  1. I would also add that yes, Ballina Council has supported upgrade of pool but nothing is done for street tree planting for shade and gentrification, upgrading footpaths for walkers inclufing the elderly and the roundabout entrance to ” the Vlliage” would have to be the ugliest and most neglected of any town. Amazing differences when you see where our rates are spent across Ballina, Wollongbar and Lennox.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The earliest unequivocally modern human remains in Africa

There may be earlier remains of modern humans – but science is certain about these ones.

The Greens launch NurseKeeper for nurses and paramedics

The Greens have written to the Premier to ask him to immediately introduce ‘NurseKeeper’ to urgently introduce pandemic pay and bonuses for nurses and paramedics. 

Lung specialist ‘we’re doing the best we can’ and Hazzard lays it on the line for the unvaccinated

At this morning's COVID-19 update press conference, Concord and Nepean Hospitals lung specialist Dr Lucy Morgan gave an update on COVID-19. Dr Morgan says she works as part of a team of people looking after patients with COVID.

Lismore’s Australia Day Ambassadors

Ahead of the Australia Day celebrations Olympians Kaarle McCulloch and Kevin Chavez have been announced as Lismore’s 2022 Australia Day Ambassadors.