Ballina council to pay for NYE fun

By DAWN COHEN

BALLINA Shire mayor Phillip Silver wants the community to organise its own NYE festivities in three low-key events.

He has recommended celebrations be held at the Alstonville Showground, at Fawcett Park in Ballina and in Lennox Head.

The Lennox Head venue has not been decided yet.

Under his plan, the council would give volunteer groups in each location about $8000 to finance the night.

However, Cr Sharon Cadwallader thinks Lennox Head will be shortchanged.

"The reality is the youth are going to go to Lennox," she said.

"It will cost more than $8000 to manage the crowd.

"I am concerned it will get out of control."

Ballina general manager John Christopherson said the committee co-ordinating NYE would consider increasing the funding for Lennox Head security.

Council attempts to create a safe event in Lennox Head last year sparked community controversy.

In the aftermath Chris Clare, spokesman for Lennox Head Boat Channel Inc, criticised the council for moving the party ? traditional- ly on the beachfront ? to Williams Reserve.

Mr Clare longs for a return to beach fireworks funded by council near the local hotel.

However, Mr Christopherson said the focus was on funding only security and amenity for low-key, family-oriented events.

"There will be controls on alcohol, but we don't know what they will be yet," he said.

"Our objective is a safe and successful New Year's Eve."

Cr Cadwallader wants the Lennox Head Bowls and Sports Club to organise an alcohol-free gig for teenagers.

"If we ban drinking on the streets we must give them somewhere to go," she said.

"New Year's Eve is an emotional time for people.

"It is about letting go of the old and letting in the new.

"We have to manage it safely." Whatever is decided, the community will be in the loop.

Mr Christopherson said that residents' opinions would be canvassed through the shire's three ward committees.



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