'We won't give up': Group pushes to keep lake road open
UDPATE 12.15pm: OPPONENTS of plans to close the eastern road at Lennox Head's Lake Ainsworth have said they will not give up their fight.
Secretary of the Save The Lake Ainsworth Road committee, Monique Pollock, said their petition attracted more than 1000 signatures against the road closure.
"People have taken the time to have their say on this issue," she said.
"The original plan was to upgrade the road and put in an environmental plan, but over the years that has changed ... what we want is a plan for the whole lake area.
"We don't want this road kept open just because it's always been there.
"Closing the eastern road will create problems in the southern and western precincts. It's also an accessibility issue - you see people using the eastern road with their wheelchairs, scooters, people with mobility issues. It makes it easier for people. It's safer.
"We should be asking Sport and Rec and the State Government to help pay to upgrade the existing road, and to help fund a whole plan to protect this space for future generations.
"We just want everyone to work together.
"This is a popular area and lots of people use it. This is a town built on tourism and bringing people to Lennox Head.
"We are still pursuing this issue. We are taking it up with Crown Lands and (Primary Industries Minister) Niall Blair, our MPs and representatives. We won't give up.
"We just want to sit down and come up with the best outcomes."
ORIGINAL STORY 9.30am: AFTER years of debate, Ballina Shire councillors have given the green light to the controversial Lake Ainsworth Improvement Program, meaning the closure of the eastern road.
First discussed in 2001, the decision was reached at yesterday's council meeting.
Work is expected to start early next month.
Cr Jeff Johnson said the creation of a community park along the eastern foreshore of Lake Ainsworth will create more than 5000sqm of open space and "provide a safe, family friendly area free of cars and traffic".
"I'm confident that once the council works program has been completed local residents and visitors will thank council for its long-term vision, and for pushing ahead with the project", he said.
Facilities and infrastructure will include additional disabled parking spaces, barbecues, picnic tables and a shared path, along with erosion control measures and riparian zone plantings.
Cr Johnson said the current situation was totally unacceptable.
"What we have is a fragile and very popular tea tree lake immediately behind the coastal sand dunes at Lennox with a bitumen road crumbling into the lake," he said.
"This area will soon be transformed into a beautiful community park."