The vast majority of the community have now made it undeniably clear that they wish to see vehicle access remain on the eastern road(approximately 30% of Lennox Head’s population has signed the petition, arguably one of the largest direct engagements with Lennox Head ever).
Since the establishment of the Lake road committee, momentum has continued to build as more and more people begin to speak out against councillors preferred concept design(Council staff recommended differently December Ordinary 2014).
The Committee is nearing 3000 signatures from Locals who wish to see access remain open. The recent muster day at the lake brought out approximately 380 people (numbers were independently verified) which is arguably the largest turn out to any council issue in decades (even fluoride).
Council does have to sometimes do things that the public won’t agree with e.g. put up rates(edit: Since this article was published last year, council has just recently approved a new rate increase i.e. Feb 2017, I will be clear I do not support the current rate rise as it is not absolutely necessary and again the community feedback was 90% against), However, where there is not an overarching imperative need for such action, councillors should put what the residents of the shire desire as the strongest consideration of any council matter.
The majority of Councillors, at the time, changed the position of council on the Eastern Road at the December 2014 ordinary meeting.
The report from that meeting noted that the key issue around the road closure was the health of the lake, with the majority of submissions..
“made direct reference, or suggestions in relation to maintaining or improving the health of Lake Ainsworth. There are those who are of the view that the only way to ensure the Lake remains healthy is through the complete closure of the eastern road.”
Since this time, all of the available studies (and newly released studies) have been analysed by experts including Professor David Llyod (Senior Lecturer in Protected Area Management, Resource Assessment techniques and Coastal Management at Southern Cross University, who previously spent over a a decade with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority).
The conclusion is there is zero evidence that suggests the eastern road is harming Lake Ainsworth.
The AWACS study, all of the enterococci studies, the data monitoring re water levels(aka “the weir effect”), the Beach watch reports (which compare water quality across the shire) and the most recent study completed that analyses vehicle run off provide zero evidence that the road is having any detrimental role on the lake.
There is no overarching imperative to close the Eastern Road, on this basis, the Lake Ainsworth Precinct upgrade plan, should be about what the community wants, the community wants eastern road access to the lake and that’s precisely what council should therefore deliver.