Before I begin, it’s important to note, the Joint Regional Planning Panel(Not Councillors) will be making the decision on the Ski Jump in Lennox Head, we can make a submission (the same as any member of the public) but that’s it, this is ultimately in the hands of the JRRP and the State Government, if you want to see an good outcome on this proposal you need to push the state.
Let me also be clear from the outset, I’m generally pro development but all development needs to add up and must be judged on its merits.
Like many people when I heard about a Ski Jump in Lennox head and all of the various rumors, I thought it was mostly just a bad joke and that ultimately a lot of the speculation and concepts would never come anything close to reality.
My experience typically with many government matters over the years is that they go through a process of iteration, even the most unpalatable developments in time either go the wayside, or get refined enough that the vast majority of people find them somewhat acceptable (never completely acceptable) and they proceed.
I was expecting to eventually support a heavily revised and balanced compromise on the Ski Jump Facility in Lennox Head, I was hopeful that it would just be another one of those types of developments that when it came down to the final revision it wouldn’t be like anything that was originally proposed and it would have ended up in some kind of acceptable position.
I was keen to participate in the Councillor briefing from the Department of Sport last week to hear straight from the department themselves. I’m not one to believe what I read in the paper or on a Facebook post.
However, I left the meeting in shock just how out of touch the Department of Sport and Recreation is.
There has been zero effort in this development application to provide a benefit to the local community.
Generally speaking, even private developers, try to put in some kind of positive element when they are consciously trying to shove something unpalatable down the communities throat(in this case, a 40m structure), but not this department.
The department either spends so much time in their offices in Sydney that they are just completely oblivious, or they are just stupidly incompetent and lack any experience in developments of this nature.
Either way it means our community is in trouble.
The site selection process has been an 30 minute brainstorming session at best. There’s been no consideration of the needs of the community in Lennox Head and any attempt whatsoever to at least try to have a neutral impact on amenity in the area by improving other ancillary areas around Lake Ainsworth.
Worse still, the development is set to benefit no one other than the 140 elite athletes who will propose to use the facility.
The department have openly stated, no additional employment is proposed at the facility, not one extra job for Lennox Head.
With no additional jobs, no additional public infrastructure i.e. upgrading of camp drew road etc. The community of Lennox Head is getting nothing out of the deal apart from an permanent ugly eyesore in the sky.
The bottom line is that it’s a bad deal all round and the department has made zero attempts to meet the community halfway or even make it a palatable deal.
The Ski Jump facility for Lennox head, benefits no one, kills the amenity of Lennox head, and provides zero other improvements to Lake Ainsworth, it’s amenity or it’s surrounding infrastructure.
There is literally no positives in this development and it’s for that reason I do not support this development in Lennox Head.
If the department is serious about this kind of facility they need to get serious about the impact they are proposing to have on the community and how they intend to counter the negative impacts to make it a far more balanced development.
P.S The Hill @ Southern Cross Uni, Lismore does look like a far better site and if SCU is prepared to do a deal with the land, Kevin (Hogan), do what you can to make it happen, it’s a federal grant they’re using after all!
Cr Ben Smith