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Residents sit down to stop sale

Lennox Head residents protesting the sale of council land close to Lake Ainsworth were Mia Shearer, 8 and Michelle Shearer, both of Lennox Head.
Lennox Head residents protesting the sale of council land close to Lake Ainsworth were Mia Shearer, 8 and Michelle Shearer, both of Lennox Head. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

LENNOX Head residents expressed concern about Ballina Shire Council's plans to sell off 1050sq m of public land by conducting a sit-in yesterday.

Approximately 60 people sat on the land council has decided to sell, which is next to Lake Ainsworth Holiday Park.

Yesterday, Ballina Shire councillor and protest organiser Jeff Johnson spoke to the crowd and called on them to sign a petition against the sale.

Cr Johnson and community groups, including Lennox Head Residents Association, have been outraged by the proposed sale as it would see state-owned Lake Ainsworth Holiday Park build cabin accommodation on the land.

"Ballina Council is handing the land to them (the NSW Government) on a plate with a discounted price tag. It's an absolute disgrace," Cr Johnson said.

Lennox Head's population has been predicted to double within two decades and Cr Johnson said such public land would be needed.

"This land is needed to provide future amenity to an already congested precinct. It will need to be used for things like parking.

"All seven local community groups are united that they do not want those blocks sold because public space is clearly lacking.

"So the council is really showing the community contempt by resolving to sell it against the community's wishes."

Local resident Margaret Trees feared the proposed land sale was a catalyst for more in the area.

"If they're going to take this from the people, what else are they going to take? There's not a lot of public areas left," she said.

Cr Johnson wanted people to contact local politicians via phone, email and letters and express their concerns.

"While council has resolved to sell the land, it's up to Minister Katrina Hodgkinson and Minister Don Page to make the decision to buy it," Cr Johnson said.

"If we get the ministers to reject the sale, then I'll move a motion in council that it will be classified as community land. Then we'll take down the fence so it can be used as overflow parking in the short-term and we will put some tables there."

Cr Johnson estimated the sale would be finalised within two months.

Topics:  ballina shire council community land lennox heads property protest



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