'Reclassify sensitive land'

ENVIRONMENTALLY sensitive land at East Ballina must be reclassified so that it can be better managed, says Ballina Shire councillor Jeff Johnson.

The land is east of The Coast Rd between the Beachfront Pde car park and Sharpes Beach, and includes the "eco-friendly" Flat Rock Tent Park.

It is currently classified as "operational" land.

But Cr Johnson said it should be "community" land because only a small portion of the block was used for the tent park.

"The vast majority of that land has no commercial operation so it should be classified as community land," he said.

"Council asked for a report to see how we could go about doing that, but unfortunately the report did not present a way forward.

"It is very disappointing.

"This is one of the most sensitive and ecologically significant and diverse parcels of coastal land in our shire.

"If it had a community zoning, then the council could form a plan of management to look after that land.

"The tent park complicates the issue, but we really should be protecting the rest of the block."

In the report presented to the council, strategic services staff recommended "preserving the status quo" to enable the tent park to continue to operate effectively.

"In essence, it is suggested that the current classification provides the council with maximum flexibility in terms of future management and use of the property," the report states.

Ballina Coastcare has also been concerned about the issue, collecting more than 400 signatures on a petition which called for the site to be classified as community land.

Should coastal areas be better protected? Leave a comment below.

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