Open sore of Black Head
BALLINA Shire Council will be asked tomorrow to research the history of quarrying Black Head by the State Government to ascertain if there was a commitment at any stage to rehabilitate the site.
In a Notice of Motion to this week's council meeting, Cr Sue Meehan says: "If there was a commitment, Ballina Shire Council is to be active in requesting the State Government and the Local Government minister to follow through with rehabilitation.
"Recently media has brought this issue forward. It seems there have been a few occasions over the years where the state may have reneged on making this site acceptable to the public."
The issue of Black Head was raised in the Ballina Advocate in February 13, calling Black Head "Ballina's historical eyesore - a blight on an otherwise beautiful coastline".
The report said Black Head was the "scene of what today would cause an environmental outcry if the events of the 1960s were to be repeated".
Drawing on information contained in Across Three Bridges (published in 1983), by former Northern Star editor Cliff Murray, it was reported that the headland at the northern end of Shelly Beach was quarried for basalt rock for several years from 1962 to provide rock to extend North Wall.
Mr Murray wrote that when work finished, the then Ballina Municipal Council approved a proposal that the area be levelled and terraced.
In a mayoral minute Alderman Ray O'Neill in November 1969 - which came after the Department of Public Works advised it was not prepared to do the restoration work - said that the quarry work had resulted in the headland being completely changed in character and left as an untidy memorial to work done elsewhere.
Ald O'Neill wrote that the council would not have approved the work if it had been aware of the ultimate scale of the work and the disfigurement of the headland.
He said the Department of Public Works had a "moral responsibility to leave the headland in a presentable state".
The Ballina Chamber of Commerce also bought into the argument, saying in 1971 that Black Head should be restored "for tourist and historical needs".