High-rise concerns for Lennox
LENNOX HEAD residents say they will fight to make sure their town does not become ‘the next Gold Coast’.
The Chamber of Commerce is calling on the State Government to guarantee that high-rise buildings will not take the place of the popular, and lucrative, Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park.
Chamber president Louise Owen said it was a ‘very real possibility’.
“This is prime coastal land that we’re talking about here,” she said.
“If the land eventually gets sold to a developer, it’s absolutely possible that it could turn into high-rises.
“We do not want to become a Gold Coast.
“It will take away a lot from the atmosphere at the lake.”
Concerns have been raised because the Land and Property Management Authority (LPMA) – formerly the Department of Lands – yesterday officially took control of all caravan parks in the Ballina Shire, which are on Crown land. This includes the Lake Ainsworth, Shaws Bay and Ballina Central caravan parks.
A spokeswoman from the LPMA said plans of management would be prepared to ‘guide any potential future development of these parks’.
But yesterday, the department’s director-general, Warwick Watkins, ruled out any future high-rise development at the caravan park sites.
“We are committed to maintaining them as a caravan parks for the travelling public,” he said.
“Down the track we hope to improve the infrastructure.”
It is understood the LPMA will make a submission on Ballina Shire Council’s new Local Environmental Plan, which is now on exhibition.
The council’s strategic services group manager, Steve Barnier, said the LPMA wanted to make sure their interests were protected.
“Under the draft LEP, the Lake Ainsworth area, including the caravan park, is zoned ‘public recreation’, which means the range of uses would be relatively limited,” he said.
“The Department of Lands might feel that it wants greater opportunity for development down the track.”
At last month’s council meeting, Mayor Phillip Silver suggested the council-owned land, on the corner of Pacific Parade and Ross Street, could be used for a ‘possible low-rise development’.
“Maybe an up-market coffee shop and a convenience store. I can just envisage that kind of thing,” he said.
The idea has been backed by the Lennox Head Residents’ Association, but president Fred Goodman said the council would ‘meet with controversy’ if it was developed above a single storey.
“I don’t think it (high-rise development) would be likely on that land or on the caravan park land,” he said.
But Ms Owen says it is better to be safe than sorry.
“We also have to think about the health of the lake,” she said.
“Saving the Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park is going to come down to people-power, and that’s something Lennox has a lot of.