17.2 C
Byron Shire
April 21, 2024

Have you commented on Ballina’s Draft Biodiversity Strategy?

Latest News

Infrastructure for east end of Mullum

Mullumbimby was founded 135 years ago. In the 1960s sewerage was introduced, as was I suppose drainage infrastructure. Are...

Other News

WATER Northern Rivers says Rous County Council is wrong

WATER Northern Rivers Alliance says despite decades of objection, Rous County Council have just commissioned yet another heritage and biodiversity study in the Rocky Creek valley, between Dunoon and The Channon, in the heart of the Northern Rivers.

Metal is back at The Northern

Beast Machine are coming home from a successful spell in the United States and the thrash/metal two-piece with their massive sound layered with riff-driven guitars and thundering drums are coming to lift the roof off of the Backroom. Check out their new music video currently out for their latest single ‘Pretend’, which is featured in HEAVY magazine.

A festival in laneways

Mullumbimby, a town known for its abundance of artists and creatives with a passion for what drives them, is set to host the much-anticipated Laneways Festival 2024 on May 4 and 5.

Byron swimmer airlifted to hospital

A man swimming in Byron Bay on the weekend was airlifted to the Gold Coast University Hospital, rescuers said. 

All those macas and the Festival of Love

This season’s organic nuts have not been harvested so it is a harvest festival where festivalgoers can pick five kilos free as part of their festival entrance fee which is payable in the new paper money being launched at the Off-Grid Macadamia Festival of Love, to be held at Macas Camping Ground where The Elders of Gaia will be discussing how to get back the many freedoms recently lost and get sanity into local, national and global management.

Anti-Israel bias

Many locals have approached me to say how shocked they are at the extreme anti-Israel bias that is expressed...

Sharpes Beach
Ballina coast road. Photo David Lowe.

Time is running out to have your say on Ballina Council’s Draft Biodiversity Strategy, which explains what’s at risk, and what could be done, if there’s the will from local councillors and residents.

The Echo spoke to Ballina Cr Simon Chate, who said, ‘I think it’s important to get the community to highlight the importance of the biodiversity strategy.’

He said the document was available to read online now with an extended opportunity for comments (until 17 March). Cr Chate said it would be very disappointing if Ballina Council spent so much money researching and producing the draft strategy if it didn’t result in any action.

‘The strategy looks at how we’re going currently, and we’re not doing particularly well. We’ve got a D minus for our rivers and waters, for example. And within our shire, we’ve got only 20 per cent native forest cover,  where Byron’s at 35 per cent, and Tweed is 50 per cent. There’s lots of areas in which we’re not doing particularly well,’ said Cr Chate.

‘So staff have investigated all that in this beautifully illustrated biodiversity strategy, with some great ideas. And we’ve got to try and fund it. We don’t want this to be published and then nothing happens.’

The draft strategy says the shire contains around 150 threatened animals, at least eight threatened plants, and nine threatened ecological communities.

With the Ballina region’s natural environment being the main drawcard for visitors, it seems entirely sensible to do something to protect and enhance it, instead of taking what exists for granted.

Former Greens Leader Bob Brown and Ballina Cr Simon Chate in Lennox Head recently. Photo Tree Faerie.

Special rate variation?

Cr Chate would like to explore the idea of a small 1-2% special rate variation to fund the work needed.

According to Ballina Shire Council’s own research, there is wide support for a Biodiversity Strategy. The document states:

‘Our state [government] wants local governments to develop strategies. Our community wants us to protect our natural environment. Our previous council resolved to make one. Our biodiversity would appreciate it.’

The draft strategy is in response to Ballina Council’s own objective; ‘to protect, enhance and conserve biodiversity in urban and rural areas through revegetation and habitat rehabilitation.’

Cr Simon Chate notes that eight out of twelve neighbouring councils have implemented a Special Rate Variation or an Environmental Levy to fund their own action plans, but there appears to be a strong resistance from the currently elected Ballina councillors towards any sort of ‘rates adjustment’, despite a stated interest in protecting the environment.

‘We need to find funding to really put a strong foot forward in the protection of our biodiversity,’ said Cr Chate.

But Ballina Council has recently voted against the idea of an SRV or Environmental Levy, opting instead to seek funding via general resources and grants.

‘My concern with this approach is that we will struggle to find funding and the protection of our biodiversity will grind to a halt, ever waiting for that elusive grant or constantly being weighed against all the other important projects that will require considerable council funding,’ said Cr Chate.

He says a small rates increase, on the other hand, would make a significant impact in the amount of environmental protection available, with financial hardship funding available for those residents unable to afford any increase.

Ballina Cr Simon Chate. Photo David Lowe.

Love it or lose it

Whatever happens with rate variations, Cr Chate says ratepayers need to tell councillors what they value if they want Ballina’s biodiversity to be taken seriously.

‘Now is the time for the community to say this is important to us,’ he told The Echo.

‘We want to look after our wildlife. We want our koalas. We want our platypuses. We want our environmental health and its wildlife to be prioritised. Ballina Shire has the least amount of native vegetation in the region.

‘If the community wants to emphasise the importance of our environment, then now is when we need to let Ballina Council know.’

Public comment on the Draft Biodiversity Strategy closes on 17 March.

More stories about Ballina Shire Council:

The bridges of Ballina Council

Ballina Shire Council has started preliminary investigation works at Fishery Creek Bridge, on River Street, and Canal Bridge, on Tamarind Drive, as part of their plan to duplicate both bridges.


Ballina Greens announce ticket for 2024

Aiming to build on their two existing councillors, the Ballina Greens have announced their team of candidates for the upcoming Ballina Shire Council elections, set for 14 September this year.


Third village for Alstonville Plateau?

A proposal to assess the viability of a third village on the Alstonville Plateau was discussed at Ballina Shire Council's last meeting.


Short stay accommodation saga at Ballina Council

The last Ballina Council meeting saw a straightforward request from staff for more information about the short term rental accommodation situation in the shire (as it relates to NSW government policy) turn into an elaborate saga.


Ballina argues about Australia Day, again

The last meeting of the Ballina Shire Council saw another rancorous discussion about whether the local community awards ceremony should coincide with Australia Day.


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. Ballina’s Draft Biodiversity Strategy, has already been fully demonstrated, when they opened up the beaches to four-wheel drives,
    this preserves the right to trash the best assets in Ballina and annihilate any surviving wildlife.
    End of story ! 30. G”)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Save Wallum now

The Save Wallum campaign has been ongoing and a strong presence of concerned conservationists are on site at Brunswick Heads. How the state planning...

Can Council’s overturn their decisions?

NSW Labor planning minister, Paul Scully, when asked about the Wallum estate by local MP Tamara Smith (Greens)  in parliament on March 20, said,...

The bridges of Ballina Council

Ballina Shire Council has started preliminary investigation works at Fishery Creek Bridge, on River Street, and Canal Bridge, on Tamarind Drive, as part of their plan to duplicate both bridges.

Tweed Council wants your ideas on future sports facilities

Tweed Council is looking for feedback from residents about future plans for sport and recreation in the area.