Sport on the skates in Lennox Head
By MARY MANN email@example.com BALLINA Shire councillors representing Lennox Head have spoken out on controversial plans for the village’s major sporting field.
The fiery debate is over the future of Williams Reserve, with plans for a proposed skatepark and emergency car parking lot encroaching on playing fields that have served the community for more than 30 years.
While plans for the $5 million community centre, skatepark and car park are yet to be finalised, the Lennox Head Combined Sports Association is worried they will leave sport in the town without its ‘spiritual home’.
The skatepark was originally planned for the western side of the reserve where it would not encroach on the fields, but now the option preferred by council staff is to put it on the northern end.
Councillor Peter Moore, one of the main forces behind the push for a skatepark at Lennox, said he was surprised to see the new plans and that he would be pushing to have the skatepark built on the western side of the reserve.
“I want the community centre and skatepark to happen, but not at the sacrifice of the village green,” he said.
“I think we can do it in a way that doesn’t encroach on the sporting fields.”
Councillor Alan Rich said he would wait until the final plans had been presented to council and then ‘vote on its merits at the time’.
Councillor Sharon Cadwallader said she had not made a decision as to where she would prefer the skatepark to go. “I don’t want to say one is more important than the other, but at the end of the day, there is only so much space,” she said.
“Relocating the sporting fields would get rid of the parking issues and would give the sporting groups new, upgraded facilities. I can’t see why they’d need Williams Reserve as well.”
Williams Reserve is used by sporting groups, schools and holidaymakers.
Combined Sports Association president Darel Vidler, who speaks for more than 500 members of various sporting clubs, actually supports the building of the community centre and skatepark on the corner site of Park and Mackney lanes.
But he and his group are opposed to the skatepark and parking lot threatening the use of the playing fields.
The council has made it clear it will not kick the sporting clubs off until alternative arrangements have been made, but the group is also concerned about the Lennox Head Strategic Plan’s intention to make the reserve a village green with sport moved to fields outside the village.
Councillors will vote on the plans at a meeting later this month or in March.