Lake Holds Centre Stage


The long-running and sometimes bitter battle over the future of Lake Ainsworth between two opposing groups in Lennox Head continued this week, with a rally at the Lake last weekend by between 200 and 300 people in favour of keeping the road open.

While the rally remained mainly informative and friendly, reports of an effigy of the Mayor being burned turned some fence sitters away.

At the other end of town, a group in favour of closing the road and creating a parkland, as outlined in the Council DA, set up an information stall near the bus shelter offering what they called ‘factual information’ on Council’s parkland plans. 

As the week unfolded another Lake conversation emerged on social media as people shared stories of their experiences with gastric illness following swimming in the Lake. Dozens of people claimed to have fallen seriously ill for several days after swimming in the Lake. While these stories are not new, and locals claim to have been aware of the holiday phenomenon for years, it does add a new dimension to the whole ‘Health of the Lake’ discussion. 

Today, however, the release of the latest Lake water assessment shows the water to be AOK for swimming.

If you have an opinion about the Lake Road closure, you must make your submission to Council by 4.30 pm on Monday 29 January.

3 Responses

  1. Lavender.

    No-one can deny that Lake Ainsworth is a most popular place for regular visitors, occasional regional visitors and holiday-makers. Nor can it be denied that particularly the eastern foreshore is very worn and over-used. The Council’s plans for the Lake are the result of about 20 years’ of planning, expert reports, consultations (including with the community) and responses to public input. These allow for pedestrian safety, rehabilitation of foreshore vegetation, stormwater management, improved access for people with a disability and elderly people and increased space for active and passive recreation. New car parks have been provided, with more to come, to replace those spaces lost due to closure of the eastern road.
    Parents are looking forward to their children roaming the eastern foreshore without having to watch out for cars, and the new wheelchair ramps will give direct access to the water. There will also be more spaces allocated for those with disability oparking permits.
    These plans have been welcomed by people of all ages who have not resorted to rallies, grafitti, accusations or name calling. It is indeed a sad thing for Lennox and indeed the Shire that some people have allowed these negative behaviours to be part of their campaign to retain the road. Then there’s the fictions like the introduction of paid parking, the destruction of significant trees.
    Surely the task for all is to be informed and to pursue respectful and calm debate. I urge people to look at the plans on Council’s website and think holistically – not just about the replacement of a road with an access track.
    Councillors and Council staff are to be commended on their attention and planning.

  2. Richard

    Can someone from either “side” please tell me where 120-140+ carparks are going to be lost down the eastern side. I physically counted the cars/legal carparking spaces from the surf club to the dog access end, and there was ONLY 84 carparks at best????? My other question is where the “leave it open group” say that the MAJORITY OF Lennox residents want it open, where are they getting their figures from? In 2016, the census stated that there was 7741 people just in Lennox (that doesn’t even include Ballina residents that also use the Lake constantly.) So that means for it to be a majority, there has to be atleast 3870+ people to be a majority! That is just plain simple maths. So when does 200-300 people represent the rest, where is the PROOF that over 3800 people want it left open. The numbers are sadly lacking…

    • Lavender

      Good questions Richard.
      * Car parks – I’ve been informed by reliable Council person that it’s 68 car parks from the eastern foreshore that will be “lost” – but like the line in the song ‘Amazing Grace’ – “was lost, but now is saved”, ie. the repalcement car parks are in excess of the number removed.
      * Claims of majority – the majority of what? Lennox residents aren’t the only people who visit the Lake and environs – so how are people from Lismore, Bangalow, Allstonville etc. factored in? Also visitors from further afield? The numbers of petition signatures and form letters opposing the Council’s plans is variously given but without scrutiny cannot be verified. A more compelling indicator of either approval of or disagreement with the Council’s plans for the Lake is the numbers of votes for Councillors in the 2016 elections. Councillors supporting the plans increased their votes – against a decrease for those opposing same.
      When all is said and done it is the future of this unique natural asset that is at stake, not the mere convenience to park cars along the fragile eastern foreshore.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *