Rally push puts plans in outfield

By Mary Mann

“WE just want to save Williams Reserve.’”

That’s the simple message Darel Vidler and the Lennox Head sporting community will push at a rally planned to stop Ballina Shire Council from ‘kicking them off’ the village field that has served the community for more than 30 years.

‘Save Williams Reserve Day’ will be held on March 1, and comes as the Lennox Head Combined Sports Association battles a proposal by the council to build a skatepark that would encroach on the reserve.

Locals are being encouraged to turn up to next Saturday’s rally in their favourite sporting gear. There will be a barbecue and light entertainment.

“We want to make everyone aware of what they stand to lose,” Mr Vidler said.

“A lot of people take the reserve for granted, and don’t realise how much value it adds to the community.

“We are planning to mark out the areas where the skatepark will encroach – I think a lot of people will get one heck of a shock,” the sporting association president added.

A development application for the Lennox Head Community Centre is currently with the council.

The proposal includes a skatepark and an emergency car parking lot, which Mr Vidler fears will leave sport in the town without its ‘spiritual home’.

The association, which speaks for more than 500 members of various sporting groups, actually supports the building of the community centre and skatepark.

However, it wants the skatepark downsized and moved to the western side of the proposed centre.

At the council’s last Facilities Committee meeting, councillor Peter Moore moved that the skatepark be downsized.

A budget blow-out means the council can’t afford to build the $5 million centre and skatepark at the same time, unless it’s downsized.

But Cr Moore’s motion was not supported by anyone but mayor Phillip Silver, and it was resolved the skate facility would be deferred until funds became available and alternative sporting facilities were provided. It will be voted on at a council meeting next week.

Cr Moore said he would again push for the skatepark to be downsized, and not deferred at the meeting.

“We support what Cr Moore is trying to do,” Mr Vidler said.

The Association is also against the council’s Lennox Head Strategic Plan, which plans to eventually remove all organised sport from Williams Reserve once alternative facilities are available.

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