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
Ballina Shire Council is about to embark on a major upgrade to the intersection of Skennars Head Road and The Coast Road.
Council’s Group Manager Civil Services, Mr John Truman, explained that due to the accident history of this intersection, the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) will fully fund the project, estimated to be $2 million, under their ‘Safer Roads’ program.
“The project will commence Friday 3 March 2017 and will include the construction of a new roundabout, reduction in road gradients, and the lowering of speed limits all aimed at improving motorist safety”, said Mr Truman.
“The four-month project will include substantial earthworks that will aim to reduce the existing steep approaches at the intersection including storm water drainage improvements
“The project will also see improved road alignments and a reduction in speed limits to 60 kmph, and will also allow for safer exiting for motorists entering The Coast Road from Skennars Head Road.
“The majority of works will be undertaken adjacent to the existing intersection, which will minimise road closures; however motorists should expect a road closure to facilitate the completion of works. Council will provide the community with information on the timing of any closure and alternative routes as the project progresses," concluded Mr Truman.
Further information on the project can be found on Councils website ballina.nsw.gov.au (search Skennars Head roundabout).
With the community at the core of every local initiative, the Council values feedback from residents on plans and projects.
Understanding that residents can recognise issues or potential improvements that may have otherwise gone unnoticed, Council is seeking feedback for its new Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan (PAMP), which provides a charter for footpath improvements works from 2017 to 2025.
Council's Road Safety Officer, Ms Helen Carpenter said the 2016-17 PAMP focuses on where pedestrians travel within Ballina Shire, identifies problem locations and prioritises improvements to safety, access and mobility.
"We're looking for local knowledge from those using the footpaths; whether on foot, on a mobility scooter, using wheelchairs or prams," Ms Carpenter said.
Council is seeking feedback on issues such as the width and connection of footpaths, pedestrian crossing and refuges, line markings, tactile and audible facilities, kerb ramps and other fixtures such as lighting and signage.
"Once we receive and analyse community feedback, we can take the next step to prioritise improvements," she said.
"Working together with the community allows Council to be one step ahead to ensure better pedestrian safety,"
Ballina Shire's first PAMP was completed in 2004 and has been updated regularly as the systematic plan has been recognised for its success in leading the delivery of the upgrades to our pedestrian infrastructure and facilities. The plan has enabled the community to understand Council's assessment of the priority of funds and it has helped Council apply and receive substantial grant funding, thus enabling an accelerated program delivery.
To have your say, visit Council's website at www.ballina.nsw.gov.au (search for 'PAMP') or phone Ballina Council's Road Safety Officer, Helen Carpenter on 6686 1427 to receive information and map pack.
Feedback should be submitted by 20 December 2016.
The construction of the new Marine Rescue Tower on the Northern breakwall of the Richmond River in Ballina is on track and is expected to be completed at the end of October.
The next of the stage of the project is the demolition of the old tower and refurbishment of the public toilets, set to commence 10 October 2016.
For works to be completed in the most efficient and safest way, the North Wall path along the break wall will be closed to all pedestrians and cyclists from 7am until 4pm each day from Friday 14 October 2016 to Wednesday 18 October 2016. The pathway will be open outside of these times.
Time-lapse video has been capturing the construction of the new tower and will now focus on the demolition of the old tower. To view the time-lapse video visit www.ballina.nsw.gov.au
As part of the construction of the new Marine Rescue Tower, upgrade works will be undertaken to the path linking Lighthouse Parade to the North Break Wall Path.
For works to be completed in the most efficient and safest way, the path from the end of Lighthouse Parade to the break wall will be closed to all pedestrians and cyclists from 7am Monday 29 August until the end of September 2016 weather permitting (see red area on attached map).
The path running adjacent to the Richmond River on the break wall (i.e. known as North Wall) will remain open.
Council seeks your patience during these works; however closing the pathway will ensure improved safety for pedestrians, cyclists and the construction crew.
Construction works are on track, with the Marine Rescue Tower expected to be operational in October 2016.
You can keep up to date on the Tower’s construction by viewing the time lapse video on Council’s website ballina.nsw.gov.au