Lennox residents fight to save lake road
LENNOX Head residents turned out in force on Saturday to protest the closure of the Eastern Road alongside Lake Ainsworth, part of Ballina Shire Council's plans for the south eastern lakeside precinct.
Pip Carter, Chairman of the Save The Lake Ainsworth Road committee, said "We want Lennox Head to have a say," he said.
Scores of locals added their support to the 2000-plus signatures against closing the Eastern Road leading from the Lennox Head Surf Club down past Lake Ainsworth which leads to the Lake Ainsworth Sport and Recreational Facility.
"They keep pushing the plan and nobody is listening to what we have to say," Mr Carter said.
Council's decision to close the popular road, used since the 1940s, was made on the basis of the environmental and social benefits that will result in the removal of vehicles from the eastern precinct.
The closure of the Eastern Road will provide the community with improved grassed areas for recreation, with BBQ facilities, pathways and outdoor showers.
However, the increasingly vocal group believe access and safety issues have been overlooked in council's plan to transform the 'warn out' lake precinct into a passive recreational space.
Pip Carter said the plan will hurt local business.
"Families carrying children and boogie boards simply won't visit the area," he said.
Cr Ben Smith stood with the protest group. "This (closing the road) is an illogical decision," he said.
"I have looked at all the evidence and I can't see any logical reason to close the road. The reality is there is little environmental evidence for closing the road. If you look at the safety aspects and speak to the police, they all say the road is better opened than closed.
Local mum and secretary of the group, Monique Pollock said, "The council staff recommend it to stay open. But the councillors have their own visions that are not representative of the whole community. I have a disabled niece. We have to be able to get people on flat surfaces.
"They are going to take away the toilets. But we want visitors to use the toilets. We don't want them to go in the dunes," she said.
According to the council plan, the toilets near the offleash dog access track may eventually be removed. However, this will depend on ongoing use of these facilities, along with improvements to the existing toilet facilities near the surf club.