New path to connect the coast
IT'S BEEN a long time coming, but around the end of this month, it will be possible to walk or cycle along a shared pathway all the way from West Ballina to Lennox Head.
There is a 6m section of pathway to be completed on North Creek Rd at Lennox Head to finally link the shared path network. Completion of that section is dependent on another project.
But council's construction engineer, Jamie Fleeting, said all the work was due to be finished by the end of this month.
Ballina's mayor, Cr David Wright, said the completion of the three-stage western shared pathway from Angels Beach to Lennox Head via The Coast Rd, the Skennars Head estate and North Creek Rd was "one of the most important things any (Ballina) council has done".
The three stages cost $2.7m and the State Government paid $1.595m of that, with council the balance.
Cr Jeff Johnson has pushed for the western route for the shared pathway since being elected to council seven years ago.
He said the completion of the project was "fantastic" and will have a "positive benefit to the community".
"Now we have a safe path to ride or walk on from Ballina or Lennox," he said.
He said the western path will particularly service residents in the growing areas of Lennox Head and Skennars Head.
But Denis Magnay, the president of the Northern Beaches Users Club, is not so excited about seeing the path completed.
The group has advocated for the eastern Coastal Recreational Pathway to be completed first.
"I think it's been a waste of money because hardly anybody uses it," he said of the western path, which has been funded primarily from State Government funds.
"And hardly anybody is going to use it. I'm still disappointed they didn't do the eastern side first."
Mr Magnay expressed concerns the completion of the western path from Angels Beach to Lennox Head would now stall the eastern route.
Council's general manager, Paul Hickey, said the council was awaiting an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit approval from the Office of Environment and Heritage prior to commencing work on the eastern section from the Angels Beach underpass through to Flat Rock Tent Park and then to the Sharpes Beach underpass - which can then connect to the Headlands Dr shared path.