Shaws Bay fishing debate in time for new management plan
IT'S a fluke, but while there has been debate on whether to ban fishing in Ballina's Shaws Bay, Ballina Shire Council is at the same time developing a new management plan for the bay.
Council's manager of public and environmental health, Graham Plumb, said the council decided last year to review the management plan, which was originally drawn up in 2000.
"There is a lot of interest in this much-loved waterway," he said.
"Council is very keen to ensure this plan meets the community's expectation.
"Community input to this plan is critical in getting the right balance in management priorities."
Mr Plumb said the council applied for 50% State Government funding for the review, but was advised the bay had not changed enough since the original plan was drawn up.
However, he said issues like concerns with the bay filling in, the change from white sand to silt on the bay's beaches and calls for removal of seagrass had come up in recent history.
On that basis, council decided to fund the review itself and has engaged Ballina firm Hydrosphere Consulting.
Mr Plumb said fishing in the bay would now probably be brought up as an issue.
"But that's one of the many issues in relation to Shaws Bay," he said.
Hydrosphere Consulting's Mick Howland said his job was to "provide a well thought-out plan that is affordable and meets the community expectations".
You can have your say by attending a drop-in session at the Ballina Surf Club between 4pm and 6pm on April 9 or complete an online survey at www.hydrosphere.com.au/shawsbay.
Truth of Shaws Bay shark myth finally revealed
THERE has been an urban myth circulating for some time that there are sharks in Shaws Bay.
And it seems Don Hook may have contributed to that story.
The 78-year-old, from Canberra, was a Northern Star reporter based in Ballina in the mid to late-1950s.
He came back to town last week to see a former colleague, Marelle Lee, of Lennox Head, and dropped into the Northern Star/Ballina Shire Advocate office in River St.
Mr Hook told the story of a report he filed about a shark sighting in Shaws Bay.
A fisherman had reportedly seen the shark in the enclosed waterway and another man backed up his claim.
"It caused a bit of friction," Mr Hook remembered.
"People raised the possibility of a shark being in Shaws Bay.
"They questioned how could it get in."
He said this was the first time he had ever heard a story about a shark in the bay.
But Mr Hook said the shark was never caught and was not sighted again.
He said Ballina had changed significantly since those days.
He recalled Ray O'Neill was mayor of Ballina Municipal Council at the time and the council meetings were particularly fiery, with the phrase "I'll see you outside" common in the chamber.
The aldermen were regularly invited back into the mayoral room for a drink after the meetings.
"That tended to be more effective at settling some of the rows," Mr Hook said.
And the town was full of "great characters", rattling off the likes of jockey Bobby Hackett, Arthur Munsie the dunny man, Jimmy Munsie the oyster man and Seagull Jones, who perched himself in front of what was then the Lobster Pot Hotel, now the Slipway Hotel.