NO STEPS: The Northern Beaches Users Club and community members protest council’s decision to have gravel and steps on the Skennars Head section of the Ballina-Lennox Head pathway.
NO STEPS: The Northern Beaches Users Club and community members protest council’s decision to have gravel and steps on the Skennars Head section of the Ballina-Lennox Head pathway.

Steps of contention

STEPS proposed for the Skennars Head section of the Coastal Recreational Pathway have disappointed some sections of the community, but pleased local environmentalists.

Ballina Shire Council at its January meeting agreed to the steps at the headland, and to use gravel as the base rather than asphalt.

But Denis Magnay, president of the Northern Beaches Users Club, said the steps would stop those using motorised scooters and mothers with prams from being able to use that section of the path.

That includes 81-year-old Peter Gutter from East Ballina, who rides his scooter daily, and has even been known to take it on the beach.

And mum Lucy Jackson said she would like to be able to walk with her child's pram from her East Ballina home along the proposed walkway.

Mr Magnay argued that a path with a 1:7 gradient and platforms at intervals would mean steps don't have to be built on the headland - he claims that's the same gradient as the path leading from Lighthouse Beach up to the lookout between Lighthouse and Shelly beaches. "The steps don't have to be there," he said.

He still hopes the decision will be rescinded, and is calling on interested people to phone him on 0412 493 367.

However, Dr Lyn Walker, president of the Ballina Environment Society, said the decision by council to have steps was a good one.

"It's reasonable, it's practical," she said.

She said opponents of the steps didn't have "an idea of the loss of aesthetics, the cost and the destruction that would have to happen" to build a path.


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