You can't see it, but work's underway to reopen Shelly's

The iconic Shelly's on the Beach Cafe.
The iconic Shelly's on the Beach Cafe. Rebecca Lollback

PROGRESS may seem slow and steady on Shelly's on the Beach café in East Ballina, but behind the scenes, a good deal of work is being done to get the café back in business.

The beachfront café was bought in 2011 by Fishheads at Byron Bay owners Ralph Mamone and Mark Sims.

The pair planned to demolish the existing building to make way for a bigger and better design, however a complication arose because the café is located on both council-owned operational land and Crown land, creating delays.

Ballina Shire Council general manager Paul Hickey said council has had to acquire the encroached area from Crown land, and has only recently received approval from the NSW Office of Local Government to do so.

"Council has now lodged a Proposed Acquisition Notice to NSW Trade and Investment (Crown Lands), of which they have 90 days to respond," he said.

"It is acknowledged by both Council and the Crown that consent has been given for the acquisition, however this step is a requirement of the Office of Local Government as part of the compulsory acquisition process."

Mr Hickey said the publication of the Acquisition Notice in the NSW Government Gazette following the 90 day period, would officially bring the land into Council's ownership.

"It is anticipated that this process will be completed by the end of September 2014," he said.

"At that time the new owner can then commence their construction of the new café."

Owner Ralph Mamone, who has also purchased the former Pelican 181 café in Fawcett Park in Ballina, said it was a very long process.

"Behind the scenes, council has been doing a lot of work," he said.

"Unfortunately from the general public's perspective it looks like nothing's going on."

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