Fears for lake health
MARKETS usually held at picturesque Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head will be moved to the Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre.
Ballina Shire councillors last week voted to relocate the markets on a permanent basis.
The rugby field will be roped off on market days to ensure no stalls or cars encroach onto the playing surface.
Lyn Walker, from the Ballina Environment Society, has long advocated for the markets to be moved away from Lake Ainsworth, saying they put pressure on the health of the lake.
"More than 12 times a year - that's a fair amount of activity for a fragile area," she said.
In the past the markets had been moved to Williams Reserve or the community centre when the lakeside road was flooded, and also during peak summer periods and major surf club events.
Council staff had recommended no further action on the market issue, saying consultation with stakeholders showed support for keeping the markets at Lake Ainsworth.
Positives to keeping the lakeside location included the availability of shade and the "unique and pleasant atmosphere".
A petition to keep the markets at the lake attracted more than 750 signatures and was presented to councillors, but they still voted to move the markets on a permanent basis to the community centre.
Ron Kleindiek has been a stallholder at the markets for 13 years and said the petition showed there was "huge public support for keeping the market at beautiful Lake Ainsworth".
"Personally, I feel that the market is ideal at its present location," he said.
But the Lennox Head Residents' Association, in a letter to the council, expressed support for moving the markets away from the lake.
President Graham Shaw said members were disappointed the council had not fully implemented the eight-year-old management plan relating to the Lake Ainsworth precinct, including the closure of the eastern road.
He said the road's closure, and the accompanying remedial works, should dictate the location of the markets.