Ballina rock wall application divides neighbourhood
A STRETCH of quiet creek-side land at Ballina has become the subject of a neighbourhood dispute, with access to the creek and erosion the major issues.
On one side are the owners of four properties who have lodged a development application with Ballina Shire Council to build a rock wall about 60m long and 1.5m high to protect their homes from erosion.
On the other side are nearby residents who said the wall would mean a loss of recreational waterfront land, particularly at high tide. They have a petition against the proposal, with about 60 signatures.
The council will make a decision about the application at its next meeting.
Ballina solicitor Peter Carmont Snr is one of the Camden Ln residents wanting the wall to be built and said erosion was a real threat to the properties, particularly at high tide when an easterly wind blew. One landowner has already placed sandbags at the waterfront.
He said he and the three long-term property owners had gone through a long process to build the wall, including gaining permission from the New South Wales Department of Planning to have the Ballina Local Environment Plan changed to allow construction of the "coastal protection works".
He said the wall would be built on private land, which had been enjoyed by the public through the generosity of landholders.
There are other protective walls in the area.
But other long-term residents such as Trish Packham, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 63 years, questioned the claim of the erosion threat, and said the sand had built up at the Camden Ln site over the years, with an estimated 10-15m of land between existing fencing and the creek bank.
Jenny Morgan said the waterfront area was "just beautiful - grass and sand. It (the wall) just doesn't seem necessary".
She said the wall would reduce access to the sandy stretch of beach.
"Many people walk along this part of North Creek to enjoy the vista. Many people fish from the beach. Many people take their children down to this beach to play in the sand and the safe shallow water," she wrote in her objection.
There is a 7.5m wide public easement to the east of the four properties, and Mrs Morgan feared the proposed wall would lead to flotsam building up in the easement.
Mr Carmont approached the concerned residents when they met at the North Creek end of Camden St last Thursday to advise them the application had been amended to move the proposed wall closer to the existing bank, further within the boundaries of the properties.
He assured residents the owners of the properties would not stop people walking on the terrace behind the proposed wall, answering their argument the wall would mean the loss of access along the waterfront at high tide.
Mrs Morgan, however, said if a property was to change hands, that goodwill could end immediately.
The president of Water Access To Ensure Recreation, Denis Magnay, said his group was looking into this particular application.