Regarding the filling in of low-lying areas in the Ballina Shire Council (BSC) area. Firstly, the point to make is that in the late 1980s the BSC’s LEP review was told quite bluntly that if it continued to fill in tidal flats, lowlands, and swamp lands, then the town would be subjected to increased and serious flooding.
They continued to fill in all these lower areas – Lower Prospect Estate, Lower Angels Beach Estate, the KMart site in Ballina, Ballina Quays Estate, West Ballina, the housing development opposite the Ballina Fire Station/Aldi with two-metre fill above the old highway, the Homemakers’ Centre site, BSC’s industrial estate site, old North Creek Road, Emmanuel High School filling a metre above the highway going into Ballina township, Riverbend Over 55s housing development, and nearby the proposed controversial ‘GemLife’ site.
The current Ballina mayor, Sharon Cadwallader, stated that her plans for Ballina included ‘more development’ and ‘better drainage’? Bigger and more drains will allow more tidal backup into the township during high tides and storms.
Secondly, the need to conserve water. Again in the late 1980s we were told tanks were not allowed in BSC’s LEP. They were dirty and as we live on the coast in the sub-tropics ‘we’ll never be short of water’. What a joke, now it’s compulsory! Now we are told that the aquifers will be used. Tell that to the people who have bores whose levels have dropped on the Alstonville Plateau – aquifer abuse?
The NSW water minister’s comments about water supply (Echo 12 July) coming from aquifers shows little knowledge about them. The NSW chief scientist’s report on Alstonville water mining revealed that very little information is known in Australia re aquifer quality and quantity. Overseas research indicates that it can take 100 to 300 years for rainfall to seep into lower aquifers. In South Australia the vegetable farmers are trying to refill their aquifers with recycled water and that is failing at this stage.
As reported in The Echo, 2 August, Ballina Island Housing was approved by BSC staff on land subject to flooding! Maybe it’s time to call for an independent review of Ballina Shire Council, particularly its executive planning and engineering sections. Who made the decision when the land was being rezoned? Does Council’s insurance (ratepayers’ money) provide sufficient cover if we were ever sued for maladministration and incompetence?
An ex-Ballina councillor’s public comments in May 2007 about me were words to the effect: ‘As for you Mr Quick, I hope this helps you, although staff advise me you know all the answers already’. I don’t, but I do have common sense. If you fill in a hole the water goes to the next-lowest point.
Clean water is only on loan to us from our grandchildren – don’t abuse it.