Back-pedalling on Ballina pathway

Ms Ingram, who often rides along the coast near Shelly Beach with six-year-old son Beau and her friend Neil Macleod, said the shared cycle and pedestrian pathway would give them a safe way to explore more of the shire.

"It will be good to be able to ride off the road, especially with kids," she said.

"The path will also encourage people to be more active and lead a healthier lifestyle."

Last year Ballina Shire Council engaged a University of Sydney anthropologist to advise on the Aboriginal cultural heritage of the proposed shared path.

The council had lodged a development application to construct the path in 2004, but a Land and Environment Court order in 2006 nullified it.

The council's lawyers subsequently recommended further assessment of the Aboriginal heritage with the lodging of a new development application.

General manager Paul Hickey said the anthropologist's report, which was nearing completion, was needed before the council could determine how to proceed with the pathway.

He confirmed the council was committed to getting the project under way as soon as possible, however, the report was needed to allow the council to further examine cultural issues and consult with the community.

It would then determine the most appropriate location for the path.

Once the preferred location was identified a new development application could be lodged, he said.

The Angels Beach Dune Care group has been fighting to have the cycleway built on the wetsern side of The Coast Road, citing ecological reasons.

Lee Andresen, the group's president, said he was eager to see the findings of the Aboriginal heritage assessment.

"We didn't want it to be built on the eastern side because it would go through a littoral rainforest, which is an endangered ecological community," Mr Andresen said.

"We wanted the same thing as the local Aboriginal community.

"They didn't want it on the eastern side because they didn't want concrete to cover up what might have been an Aboriginal burial site."

He said it was now just a matter of waiting for the findings of the report.




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