Fears demolition could leave hole in Ballina CBD
BALLINA may be left with a gaping hole in its heart if Ballina Shire Council tomorrow night approves the demolition of three buildings in the town's centre.
The owners of the three retail sites at 115, 127 and 165 River Street, between Moon and Cherry streets, have applied to the council for permission to demolish the buildings, but say there are no immediate plans to replace them.
Existing tenants declined to speak to The Northern Star yesterday, but indicated they were not concerned by plans to tear down their premises.
The council's regulatory services group manager, Rod Willis, said the buildings were not in a derelict state and poised no threat to public safety.
“It is not in the public interest to give consent to demolish buildings and then leave a significant vacant space in the middle of the town,” he said.
Ironically, the council is also due to vote on the eagerly-anticipated shire-wide community based heritage study, which nominates the same buildings as contributing 'historically and aesthetically to the architectural fabric of River Street'.
The buildings, however, are not listed on the council's local environmental plan.
In three reports prepared by Mr Willis for the council meeting, the buildings' owners have argued against the listing of Ballina's historic facades.
They said the facades 'do not demonstrate historic or aesthetic heritage values; will thwart development in Ballina's town centre; and heritage listing is not in the interests of the future of the Ballina town centre'.
The owners of the buildings could not be contacted yesterday for comment.
Mr Willis has recommended demolition of the buildings be refused because they are structurally sound and it is not in the public's interest.