Mystery sinkhole at Shelly Beach is no longer a danger
A THREE metre wide sinkhole which opened up on Ballina's Shelly beach early last week has been blamed on a leaky stormwater pipe.
Ballina Shire Council was forced to cordon off the area this week when the sinkhole expanded to an estimated 3m wide and 1m deep.
It has since been filled with sand by council staff and is no longer deemed to be hazardous to beachgoers.
The pipe, which runs under the beach from the western side of Shelly Beach Rd, is prone to leaking water during large swells or heavy rainfall.
Surf Life Saving Far North Coast duty officer Garry Meredith said the hole regularly appeared during big swells and heavy rain and would probably keep returning until the pipe was replaced.
"This time it was bad enough for members of the public to report it," he said.
Mr Meredith said one man stepped down into the hole to measure the depth and the water was up to his waist.
"Today it's totally disappeared, there's plenty of sand there, you probably wouldn't even be able to pick it was," he said.
"There's nothing there, it's back to normal beach, which is good."
The council pipeline runs from a grass reserve on the western side of Shelly Beach Rd, under the southern end of the beach and flows out off the end of Speeds Reef.
Plenty of sand above the pipe meant the sinkhole was bigger than usual.