MONSTROSITY: East Ballina residents Mary Collins (left) and Margaret Readford with the ‘ugly’ wall at The Serpentine.
MONSTROSITY: East Ballina residents Mary Collins (left) and Margaret Readford with the ‘ugly’ wall at The Serpentine.

Ballina’s great ‘ugly wall’

CHINA has its Great Wall, and Ballina has an ‘ugly’ one.

Residents of The Serpentine on the northern shores of North Creek at East Ballina describe the stabilising wall built over an old stone wall as ‘a monstrosity’.

“It’s the ugliest thing I have ever seen,” said Margaret Readford.

The new concrete wall of about 30m in length and 15m high at the highest point, and with drainage pipes and bolts jutting out from it to a length of about 20cm and more, was built by Ballina Shire Council in November.

Margaret said the stone wall was part of Ballina’s history and fitted in well with the Pioneer Park at the eastern end of The Serpentine.

“Why not beautify something instead of making it ugly?” she said.

She and neighbour Mary Collins – both long-term owners of properties at The Serpentine – said the residents weren’t given any say in the look of the new wall.

They said if they had known what was going to be built, they would have protested the move.

Next to the ugly wall is another terraced wall, which residents say was much more pleasing to the eye.

“Why couldn’t they have at least built something like that?” Margaret said.

“They’ve gone for the cheapest option.

“But we pay our rates.”

Margaret said it was feared youth may use the bolts to climb the wall, which stands right next to a roadway which is well-used by locals and tourists alike.

“And that’s dangerous,” she said.

Council’s acting group manager – civil services, Paul Busmanis, said the style of wall was chosen as it presented the least amount of risks during construction.

It cost $140,000.

He said another type of wall like a terraced wall would have involved excavation work into the steep embankment which has buildings above it.

And he said a terraced wall also would allow climbers.

He said council had contacted the contractor about the threaded bolts which jut out from the wall, but had yet to receive a reply.

He said the bolts jutted out as workers had to estimate the length required for the bolts when drilling into the concrete and the stone wall behind it, which was a difficult task.

Meanwhile, Cr Sue Meehan has taken up the residents’ concerns and plans to lodge a notice of motion at the January 28 council meeting calling for a report on what could be done to make the wall more aesthetic.

She said The Serpentine was an iconic part of Ballina.

She suggested plants may be able to be grown at the top and draped over the wall.

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