Boardwalk to open with a protest
ANOTHER group will mark the opening of the Ballina RSL Boardwalk tomorrow, but it will be as a protest.
The lobby group Water Access To Encourage Recreation (WATER) has arranged the event, with president Denis Magnay saying the group was ‘snubbed’ at the official opening just before Christmas, even though he says the group lobbied hard for the $660,000 boardwalk.
Ballina RSL Club general manager Bill Coulter denies that any group other than the club, the NSW Department of Lands, and Ballina Shire Council had any involvement in having the boardwalk built.
He said the walkway was always going to be built, when an enclosed structure was built over an old wharf on Crown land in 2002.
He said the Department of Lands set down the condition that public access had to be provided before April 2010.
“We were never under pressure from an outside group to build that structure,” he said.
“We think it (the boardwalk) is a great asset to the people and it’s good to see the people of Ballina enjoy it.”
But Mr Magnay claimed that, at first, there were no plans for public access along the waterfront.
“WATER representatives were involved in some vicious arguments at council meetings over whether the Ballina RSL Club should be required to supply public access to the waterfront similar to other developers in the CBD,” he said.
Mr Magnay said it was because of their lobbying the department gave the RSL club an ‘ultimatum’ to build the boardwalk. The protest is at Captain Cook Park at 1pm.