CLEANING UP: Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin (right) announces to Cr Sharon Cadwallader (second from right) and East Ballina residents (from left) Phill (CORRECT) Robbins, Beth Martin and Brian Mullens a State Government grant to allow Ballina council to clean local beaches of flood debris so they look as pristine as Lighthouse Beach.
CLEANING UP: Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin (right) announces to Cr Sharon Cadwallader (second from right) and East Ballina residents (from left) Phill (CORRECT) Robbins, Beth Martin and Brian Mullens a State Government grant to allow Ballina council to clean local beaches of flood debris so they look as pristine as Lighthouse Beach. Graham Broadhead

$25,000 to clean flood debris off Ballina beaches

WHILE a majority of Ballina Shire councillors didn't see the need to rid local beaches of large flood debris, the State Government did.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Northern NSW, Ben Franklin, on October 6 announced a grant of $25,000 for council to clean debris which washed up on ocean and riverside beaches with the flooding of the Richmond River caused when the remnants of Cyclone Debbie hit earlier this year.

Cr Sharon Cadwallader lobbied for the State cash after the council rejected her plea for a one-off clean-up of the beaches back in July.

"I was extremely disappointed with the lack of concern (of councillors) to realise how important clean beaches are to our economy, the community and to visitors,” she said of her councillor colleagues who voted against the proposal.

"We need to be showcasing our beaches.

"We need people to leave with a positive experience.”

Beth Martin and Brian Mullens were two of the residents pushing to have the beaches cleaned.

Ms Martin said the "massive” logs which washed up on the ocean beaches and riverside areas not only detracted from the aesthetics of the beaches at a time when sharks have been a major issue, but they also were a safety hazard.

She said some logs had became home to snakes.

She said she was pleased the State Government came on board with funding, but said it was "frustrating” the council didn't do more.

Council staff's level of service in regard to things like cleaning up the beaches is set by the councillors.

Staff did do some clean-up work at Lighthouse Beach, even though it's only in their job description to remove debris which presents a risk to public health or safety, like logs in the surf zone.

In July, the councillors agreed to develop a policy in regard to the level of service expected by staff in regards to beach clean-ups following natural events like Cyclone Debbie.

Cr Cadwallader said she also would be lobbying the State Government for beach clean-ups to be included in disaster relief funding.



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