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May 24, 2024

Bike trail to link Lennox Head and Byron Bay?

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Potential path location between Lennox Head and Broken Head, from the air. Photo David Lowe.

The last Ballina Shire Council meeting included a mayoral minute aimed at putting a coastal recreational pathway linking Lennox Head with its northern neighbour back on the agenda.

Mayor Sharon Cadwallader said she had been thinking about the idea for some time, having found in-principle support from Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon. She said both mayors were seeking to ‘explore the opportunities, and if possible, get it shovel ready so that we’d be able to pursue grant opportunities.’

Mayor Cadwallader said an extension of Ballina’s very popular coastal recreational pathway network would boost tourism, reduce emissions, encourage exercise and reduce parking pressure.

Cr Phillip Meehan sought clarification about the proposed route. Was Mayor Cadwallader proposing a pathway close to the coastline, or a shared pathway along the road?

Cr Cadwallader said that those questions would be dealt with as part of a feasibility study.

Ballina Cr Jeff Johnson. Photo David Lowe.

Cr Jeff Johnson then said that the idea was not a new one, and that previous councils had discussed putting a cycleway along the dunes, behind the beach at Lennox and then through private property and wetlands.

‘It’s just simply not viable on that route,’ he said. Would Ballina Council rule out pursuing that route again?

Mayor Cadwallader said that was not something she would preempt at this stage.

Staff-member John Truman confirmed that previous negotiations with Byron Council had broken down over a failure to agree on a route, with Ballina wanting to go through reserve areas near the beach and Byron Council at that stage preferring the coast road option.

Cr Eoin Johnston was concerned about where the track would go when it got to Lennox Head. Staff said it would not affect the village, and would utilise existing roads.

Amendment to rule out dunes route

Cr Jeff Johnson then put up an amendment, supported by Cr Kiri Dicker, seeking to rule out the route going through sensitive areas very close to the coast between the two shires, noting that this had been a sticking point in resolving the path ‘for at least ten years’, but this went nowhere.

Sensitive areas between Lennox Head and Broken Head, from the air. Photo David Lowe.

Speaking from a staff perspective, GM Paul Hickey confirmed that ‘trying to get an approval through sand dunes, environmental areas, and cultural areas, is a lot harder than getting an approval through a road reserve.’

Unswayed by this, Cr Phillip Meehan (a recreational cyclist himself) supported the mayor’s proposal for a ‘fresh discussion’, while saying he respected Cr Johnson’s concerns.

Cr Rod Bruem said he was excited about the potential of rail trails and the extension of the coastal recreational path. ‘I think the community wants to see something like this happen and it’ll be great for health and fitness and tourism and so many other things,’ he said.

Mayor Cadwallader said her idea was not to be prescriptive, but about starting a conversation.

Ballina’s Mayor Sharon Cadwallader. Photo David Lowe.

‘I’ve tried to have these conversations with the previous mayor, which went nowhere,’ she said. ‘And so I was very pleased to have a conversation that we can continue to see what we may or may not be able to achieve.’

Her motion to pursue the coastal path extension idea was then carried unanimously. Cr Eva Ramsey was not present.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Run it along the road = $10 million wasted with zero people using it, and all the lycra clad people riding on the road anyway. Run it behind the beach with world class stunning views highlighting the natural wonders of the area (Beach and nature) = $10m spent with thousands of people using it each year. Which does Ballina Shire support, and which does Byron Shire support…. Sigh.

  2. We need decent bike paths in Alstonville as trying to get down to the main street along Ballina Road from the south is a joke as you try to navigate the narrow shoulders of the road and the vehicle traffic.
    What is interesting is there is the Duck Creek Mountain bike complex and not a dedicated bike path to it from either direction unless you want to risk the traffic along the Bruxner highway.
    What about a dedicated bike path between West Ballina and the Alstonville plateau.

  3. Our present bikeway/walkways are in need of attention & maintenance along the coastal path & Angels Beach Road, then we could look at extending the bikeway to byron bay.

  4. Ride/walk along the beach,ride/walk seven mile beach road,ride /walk broken head beach to byron.No cost to ratepayers,
    $10M to waste somewhere else and no koalas harmed.Oh,hang on,it’s already there!

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