CELEBRATION TIME: It was only just over a fortnight ago that supporters of the coastal recreational path were celebrating work starting on the Angels Beach to Sharpes Beach section, but now president of the Northern Beaches Users Club, Denis Magnay, Angels Beach resident David Fuller and others welcome funding for the final section of the path.
CELEBRATION TIME: It was only just over a fortnight ago that supporters of the coastal recreational path were celebrating work starting on the Angels Beach to Sharpes Beach section, but now president of the Northern Beaches Users Club, Denis Magnay, Angels Beach resident David Fuller and others welcome funding for the final section of the path. Graham Broadhead

Coastal path to link Northern Rivers towns almost finished

AFTER 30 years, Ballina's Denis Magnay can now almost see the finish of the coastal recreational path linking Ballina and Lennox Head.

Ballina Shire Council last week ratified the minutes of the finance committee, diverting $850,000 from a shared path planned to be built alongside The Coast Road from Skennars Head to Pat Morton lookout to the final section of the coastal recreational path (CRP).

The final 3km of the CRP will extend from Sharpes Beach to Pat Morton lookout, linking with an existing path into Lennox Head.

Mr Magnay has been lobbying for the coastal path for the three decades the project has been on council's books.

"This is good news," he said.

"This (the final section) is the missing link."

It's only been a few weeks since Mr Magnay, another long-term advocate for the CRP David Fuller and other supporters of the CRP celebrated work starting on the Angels Beach to Sharpes Beach section of the long-awaited path.

"Hopefully, by the time they have finished the current work, we can get on with the final 3km," he said.

Mr Magnay said the coastal path, with its views and access to beaches for fishers, would become a tourist attraction for Ballina.

The completion of the work is likely to require more money, but he says having some funds for the project will allow council to apply for grants, and to get started on the longed-for pathway.

Mr Fuller, a resident of Angels Beach, tabled 3000 letters of support for the CRP at last week's council meeting.

Environmental groups have opposed the path over the years, and the shared path on the western side of The Coast Road was built as part of a compromise to break the deadlock over the CRP.

Fiona Folan, from the Ballina Environment Society and daughter of Skennars Head landholder, Dr Stewart, mocked recent suggestions that part of the CRP be named after her father.

Dr Stewart has provided a long-term lease to Ballina Shire Council for the Sharpes Beach carpark and sections of land where the path is being built.

She commented on the suggestion published online, saying her parents think the path is "folly".

It will take about six months for the Angels Beach to Sharpes Beach section of the path to be fully completed.



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