North Coast lake's road set to close after long battle

FINALLY: Lyn Walker, from the Lake Ainsworth Interest Group,  (front, right) meeting with State Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith, along with other supports earlier this year.
FINALLY: Lyn Walker, from the Lake Ainsworth Interest Group, (front, right) meeting with State Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith, along with other supports earlier this year. Graham Broadhead

THE eastern road at Lake Ainsworth, which connects the village with the Sport and Recreation Centre, is set to close in February.

The green light for the closure came last week when Ballina Shire Council upheld a rescission motion reversing a previous agreement to hold off on the road closure until further negotiations could be made with the State Government about funding and options for keeping the road open.

Lyn Walker, representing the Lake Ainsworth Interest Group made up of delegates from the Ballina Environment Society, Lennox Head Landcare and the Lennox Head Residents Association, said she felt "relief” that the road was to finally close.

"This was first decided in 2006,” she said

"Every issue has been examined as thoroughly as it could possibly have been.

"It is such a sensible thing to do for our lake.”

The group had been arguing the road needed to close for pedestrian safety reasons and to provide more open, passive recreation space.

Over the years the debate has been going on, the possible effects the road was having on the health of the lake was also discussed.

Ms Walker said the planned parkland area, with picnic tables and toilets, would be a "wonderful thing for Lennox Head and the lake”.

"It looks like it's in sight now - but I've been thinking that for a long time,” she said.

Pip Carter was "disappointed” with the decision.

He is the spokesman for the Stop the Lake Road Closure committee.

"We're disappointed they (council) didn't take the opportunity to see if there were extra funds available from the State Government which would keep the road open,” he said.

Mr Carter said the committee formed because of the strong community sentiment to keep the road open. The group has argued the majority of residents in Lennox Head don't want the road to close.

"We hope the decision made by council works for the community,” he said.

It's been a long-running issue in Lennox Head that this year attracted comments from the NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres and Lennox-based MLC Catherine Cusack, who described the decision to close the road as "so dumb”.

Ballina Shire Council has already built new car parking to allow for the loss of parking caused by the road's closure.

Access to the Sport and Recreation Centre will be via the road to the west of Lake Ainsworth, while a shared pathway will be kept open on the eastern side of the lake for use by emergency vehicles.

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