Rip Curl wave of protest

SURFERS and community members turned up to Lennox Point on Saturday to sign a petition against a professional surfing event being held at the recently-designated National Surfing Reserve.

The information day was led by the North East Surfers Alliance, a group of concerned local residents and recreational surfers who are against Rip Curl's proposal to hold a professional surfing event at Lennox Point.

Over the past month the group has been collecting signatures on a petition to be lodged with Ballina Shire Council, calling for a ban on all commercial surf contests at Lennox Point.

Founder of the group, Ed Standfield, said several hundred signatures had already been collected.

“We want to raise community awareness about this proposal as there are many people who are unfamiliar with what the event will mean for Lennox,” he said.

Ballina Shire Council staff is seeking more information on Rip Curl's proposal, to see if a de- velopment application needs to be lodged, or if the event would fall under council's event policy.

Alan Baldock, a Lennox resident for 37 years and a member of the activist group, said the protest was about precedence.

“If we allow this proposal for one big corporation, then it will not end there and we don't want Lennox Head turning into another Gold Coast,” Mr Baldock said.

The group's main concerns were that corporate events at the point would lead to overcrowding, environmental degradation, pollution and disruption to traffic.

“The Ballina council should be responsible for these issues, such as infrastructure, and not Rip Curl,” Mr Standfield said.

The group estimated that a corporate event could attract between 5000 to 10,000 spectators daily.

Mr Standfield said 84 per cent of businesses that were part of a group survey did not want to see a commercial surf competition held at Lennox Point.

However, some businesses support the proposal as the popular surfing event would attract thousands of tourists.

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