Ballina councillors vote to reclassify waterways

BALLINA Quays canals and Banyanda Lake will be reclassified from community land to operational land following a unanimous vote at Thursday's Ballina Shire Council meeting.

The purpose behind the reclassification is to enable private waterway structures such as pontoons, boat ramps and jetties to remain in the waterways and to be consistent with local government legislation.

A total of 77 submissions were received during public consultation for the reclassification, primarily concerned with maintenance, fees and the need for reclassification.

Some residents were concerned their land values would be affected by the change, additional charges would be levied and maintenance obligations would switch from the council to residents.

However, a report attached to the motion said the reclassification would have little, if any, effect on land values and would not result in additional fees or charges.

It also said there was nothing in the reclassification to reduce the council's commitments to the maintenance and management of the waterways.

Councillor Keith Williams said a lot of the concerns raised in the submissions would not be affected by the reclassification.

"What we will achieve by making this operational land is legal clarity about the status of the pontoons and jetties, and council's public liability exposure if something should happen on any of those structures," he said.

"It's not acceptable that the community could bear the cost of someone being injured on a private structure.

"That is really what this is seeking to address."

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