Passionate drive to save lake road

MIRACLE NEEDED: At Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head, are (from left) Les Hynes, Stop the Lake Road Closure committee spokesperson Pip Carter and John Green.
MIRACLE NEEDED: At Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head, are (from left) Les Hynes, Stop the Lake Road Closure committee spokesperson Pip Carter and John Green.

PIP Carter admits he is hoping for a "miracle”, but continues the drive to keep the eastern road at Lake Ainsworth open.

He is the spokesperson for the Stop the Lake Road Closure committee which has launched a petition, listed under Lake Ainsworth, calling for the road on Crown land to stay open.

Ballina Shire Council late last year decided to close the road in February after a rescission motion successfully overturned a previous decision to defer the road's closure until further negotiations with the State Government took place for upgrades to the road.

The NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres last year described the decision to close the road as "odd” while Lennox Head MLC Catherine Cusack said it was "so dumb”.

Mr Carter, noting a petition with 2287 signatures tabled last year with council, said he felt the majority of Lennox Head residents still wanted to see the road remain open.

"Nobody is listening,” he said.

In the lead-up to Christmas and continuing last week, members of the committee were handing out a flyer promoting the current online petition and urging residents to contact the NSW Minister for Lands and Water, Niall Blair.

Mr Carter said he had counted up to 88 cars in one day parked along the eastern road, with the new council car park filled and cars parked in nearby Ross St.

The group argues that closing the road and creating the proposed parkland would reduce access to the eastern side of the lake, and the beach, and push cars into the suburban streets at the northern end of Lennox village, bringing with it safety issues for residents and pedestrians.

While he said the parkland could be a "pretty space”, he questions if people would use the area considering the distance from where cars would need to be parked, with particular difficulties for the elderly and those with disabilities.

However, Dr Lyn Walker, spokesperson for the Lake Ainsworth Interest Group made up of representatives of Lennox Head Landcare, the Ballina Environment Society and the Lennox Head Residents Association, warns residents against signing the petition to keep the road open.

Members of the group have been following the plans and discussions around the road for 16 years.

"We've sat through all the consultations, listened to the community and firmly believe that transforming the eastern road into parkland is the right thing to do for the lake and for the community,” Dr Walker said.

She said the "conflict” between vehicles and lake users, and the lack of safe space for recreation and the lack of stormwater management make the decision to close the road a "sensible one”.

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