Angels Beach cycleway halted
CONSTRUCTION of the Angels Beach cycleway has been halted.
Last Friday, the Land and Environment Court declared the Ballina Shire Council's Development Consent for the cycleway to be void. The route, from the underpass at Beachfront Parade to Flat Rock, passes through a 19th century Aboriginal massacre site.
Justice Dennis Cowdroy upheld the application by Bundjalung traditional owners Douglas and Susan Anderson that council, in reaching its decision to approve the cycleway, had failed to consider the cultural heritage significance of the area.
A spokesperson for the Indige- nous Justice Advocacy Network, Al Oshlack, who represented Douglas and Susan Anderson in the court, said: "This decision has set a very important precedent for the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW.
"Nearly all the significant Aboriginal cultural sites in the Ballina area have either been desecrated or destroyed by inappropriate development."
Ballina Shire Council's general manager, John Christopherson, said council was disappointed with the decision.
"This was only one ground where judgement was made in favour of the Andersons," he said.
"One pleasing aspect of the case was that the court confirmed the council's process of consulting with the Aboriginal community through the Jali Aboriginal Land Council was appropriate and this process will continue."
He said the court did rule the cycleway would not have a significant detrimental effect on the habitat of the locality, and it would improve the landscape and scenic quality of the site.
He said council would consider at the March 23 meeting whether it would proceed with a new application for the cycleway.