VIDEO: Lennox Head Ski Jump plans axed
THE State Government announced the proposed Ski Jump facility at Lennox Head will not go ahead after strong opposition against the plans were to be aired at a protest staged by the community today.
Over 300 people turned up to Wilson Reserve on Saturday ready walk through the village in a show against the 38m multi-purpose pool facility intended to train top athletes in aerial skiing, snow boarding and gymnastics.
Northern NSW Nationals Parliamentary Secretary Ben Franklin told protesters the proposal - which was before a Joint Regional Planning Panel and sought to change the Ballina Shire Council Local Environment Plan due to its height - had been canned.
"At the right location, the facility would provide a much-needed boost for local jobs and businesses, while supporting Australia's elite athletes. But it's clear this project is not a fit for this local community," Mr Franklin said.
"The Lennox Head community have made their views known on the Ski Jump and I stand unequivocally with them. The facility was not appropriate for Lennox Head and it will not be built here," he said.
Final confirmation that the ski jump would not be built at its current site was received after a meeting between Mr Franklin and Sports Minister Stuart Ayres late this week.
"When Gladys Berejiklian became Premier, she made it 100% clear that we would place the community first and that is exactly what we have done today," Mr Ayres said.
Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith, who said she had spent money from her salary to help fund the community's campaign, including on printing petitions and flyers, welcomed the result for the community.
However she was critical of Mr Franklin for having kept the announcement up his sleeve until the protest.
"This is a great day for the community and I certainly don't want to take away from that, but I was told this morning the decision had been made a few days ago, but they're still letting the community come out and rally so Ben Franklin can do a big reveal.
"This isn't an episode of Masterchef, we don't need the cliff hanger, the focus just needs to be on the community.
"They're letting people come out, give up their time, take to the streets when (the decision) already been done and dusted."
After two months of active campaigning, Lennox Head Against the Ski Jump spokeswoman Michelle Shearer said the group welcomed the State Government's decision.
The group believed the structure (taller than the Byron Bay Lighthouse) was expected to have significant visual impact, was not consistent with the natural aesthetic of Lennox Head for tourism purposes, and would have significant noise and light impacts.
Lennox Head couple Sherrie Yeomans and Josh Kelly said the structure would have been "right in the middle of our view", and could have had a negative impact on turtles nesting in a nearby lake area.
"Lismore or the Gold Coast can have the Ski Jump, this is not the right area for it."