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April 21, 2024

Cr Keith Williams calls for consultation on South Ballina Beach access

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4WD tracks washing away, South Ballina Beach. Photo David Lowe

At today’s Ballina Council meeting, Cr Keith Williams is going to urge council to write to the NSW Minister for Crown Lands about South Ballina beach, which has recently been closed to public 4WD access.

Cr Williams says he wants to thank the minister for acting to reduce risk to beach users and limit ongoing environmental degradation to the beach, but notes that Ballina Shire Council has not undertaken the necessary community consultation regarding usage of South Ballina Beach, in spite of council and departmental policy.

Cr Keith Williams. Photo David Lowe.

He has suggested that Crown Lands consider modifications to the proposed list of ‘approved users’ authorised to access the beach.

Possible inclusions are people with a disability, seniors, immediate neighbours, licensed wildlife rescuers and members of local fishing clubs.

Failure to consult?

Cr Williams says the department’s failure to consult the affected community before making its decision to close the beach undermined respect for both the decision making process and the decision itself.

He said that in August 2020 he attended a meeting of the combined Ballina Shire fishing clubs and assisted with the drafting of a letter to council calling for fishing clubs to maintain access.

After this letter was forwarded to Crown Lands, Cr Williams says he was advised that a community engagement plan was being developed and the request would be considered, but since then there has been no community consultation.

Council will vote on Cr Williams’ motion this morning.


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