Need for toilet training
PEOPLE are going to the toilet in the dunes of pristine South Ballina Beach and in local residents' gardens because there are no public facilities in the area.
South Ballina is one of the shire's most popular spots for fishing, swimming, cycling, bird watching, four-wheel driving and surfing.
In summer thousands of people cross the river on the Burns Point Ferry for day trips or to stay in one of the two caravan parks.
But local residents are furious that authorities will not install public toilets and rubbish bins.
Lorraine Leuckel and Frannie Stanek from the South Ballina Beach Community Association said they had lobbied the council, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Ballina MP Don Page for almost two years.
"We are only a little community so no-one cares about us," Ms Leuckel said. "But on weekends and during the holidays, it is crazy here.
"A lot of work is being done to protect the pied oystercatcher, which nests in the dunes on the beach. But because there are no public toilets, where do you think people go? In the dunes.
"No-one would be game to say they stepped on a nest, but I bet it happens.
"People also go to the toilet in gardens and in the grounds of the schools.
"It's really sad because we have such a beautiful environment."
Ms Stanek said a compost toilet would be an ideal solution to the problem.
In May last year, councillors voted to write to Environment Minister Robyn Parker requesting the provision of public toilets at South Ballina.
The council's civil services group manager, John Truman, said letters had subsequently been written to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
NPWS area manager for the Richmond River area, Mark Pittavino, said there were a number of landowners in the area, including the council, NPWS and Crown Lands.
"All the stakeholders need to work together to find a solution," he said.
"We are trying to identify a site that will be appropriate.
"But there are a lot of logistical problems, and we also need to consider management and maintenance."