Independent Ballina Shire Councillor Sharon Cadwallader has again expressed concern that state government services are failing to keep up with local population expansion.
Cr Cadwallader told The Echo on Thursday she’d be asking council staff to pursue the matter of policing resources in the shire after last month winning majority council support to pressure the government on the future of Lennox Head Public School.
Plans for the school’s development showed the state’s education department had intended an extra eight classrooms to be built by the end of 2018.
But Cr Cadwallader said they hadn’t been built and increased demand meant an extra thirteen classrooms were needed.
Older students at the school were already having to leave the campus to attend certain classes like sports elsewhere.
‘It’s really impacting on the children and their families,’ Cr Cadwallader said.
‘We desperately need some answers on future planning,’ she said, ‘do we need an alternative site, is there not enough room or will they try to make it work there?’
More police needed in Ballina, says Cr Cadwallader
Earlier this year, councillors agreed to have staff write to the NSW police minister, David Elliott, seeking information about plans for police resources in the shire.
Cr Cadwaller represents the shire’s B Ward, which includes Lennox Head, and wanted to know whether NSW Police intended to put a new station there.
On Thursday morning Cr Cadwallader referred to reports of recent increased rates in domestic violence in Ballina, as well as community stories shared on social media of petty crime in West Ballina, Ballina, Alstonville and Lennox Head.
‘Policing needs to match what’s going on,’ Cr Cadwallader said.
Parliamentary Secretary says Alstonville policing shared across district
The independent councillor said she was pleased when extra police for the local region were announced shortly after she’d raised concerns about Lennox Head’s lack of a station and that officers’ shifts were reportedly now being covered for health leave.
But she said she still expected staff to pursue the matter of a dedicated Lennox Head station, as well as a permanent base of staff at the Alstonville station.
A letter from Police and Justice Parliamentary Secretary Mark Taylor on behalf of police minister David Elliott in mid-July was attached to a Ballina Shire Council C Ward committee meeting agenda last week, explaining how staffing at the station worked.
‘Alstonville Police Station works in a combined roster with Wardell Police Station,’ the letter read.
‘When these officers are not on duty or deployed elsewhere the sector of Alstonville is covered by Ballina and Lismore Police Stations,’ Mr Taylor continued.
The letter went on to describe the existence of other dedicated police teams in Proactive Crime, Crime Prevention, Traffic and Highway Patrol and Domestic Violence.
Cr Cadwallader said she wasn’t satisfied with the rostering scheme described and would continue to push for a full-time Alstonville team.
‘There’s growth population at Wollongbar,’ she said, ‘we’ve put in a skate park, we’re doing infill development at Alstonville’.
‘Policing has to match the population growth.’