Already close to 250 objections and 2 letters of support for the Olympic Ski Jump training facility have been received by Ballina Council and there are still 3 weeks to go. Submissions will close on June 15, so if you are opposed to, or support the proposal, you have plenty of time to send a communication to Council.
Walk in protest this Saturday 27 May
Following the participation of over 300 people at the Howl at the Moon protest (organised by LAB) in early May, Lennox Head Against The Ski Jump is organising a day time walk through the middle of town to show their opposition to the proposal. They urge everyone who is against this development to meet at Williams Reserve at 2.30 on Saturday and walk quietly through town.
While several councillors have come out in open opposition to the proposal (including Phil Meehan who has lodged a motion to refuse the development), Mayor David Wright remains tight lipped. In cases like this the Mayor would normally sit on the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP), the body which will determine the outcome of the Application. However, provisions within the JRPP code suggest that anyone with a conflict of interest should recuse themselves from the panel. Such interest does not have to be financial, but can be based upon experience with the project in the lead up to approval.
Mayor Wright has been very open about the fact that he was contacted by the Department of Sport over 4 years ago and has been privy to much of the preliminary discussion, design and development of the project. He has also been publicly very supportive, up until the DA was lodged.
Lennox Head Against The Ski Jump has written to the JRPP outlining their concerns about Mayor Wright’s position on the panel.
‘According to Mayor Wright, he has been working on this project for four years,’ the letter says.
‘It is disappointing that, unlike all other Councillors contacted, Mayor Wright has not answered or returned phone calls from our group to discuss the basis of his position. It is even more disappointing that he has nevertheless found time to visit local schools to encourage local children to get behind the ski jump.’
‘…in the interests of probity, public trust, and maintaining at least the appearance of impartiality, we request that you ask Mayor Wright to recuse himself from the JRPP hearing this matter.’
Council staff will prepare a report for the JRPP, which assesses the DA according to local planning regulations. They are allowed to make both verbal and written submissions to the JRPP.
Mayor Visits Schools to Spruik Directly to Students
The Mayor last month made several visits to local primary schools to speak directly to students about the positive aspects of the ski jump. He did not invite anyone who is opposed to go with him and present the other side. Lennox Head Against the Ski Jump claim he used his position of power to run a mini election campaign aimed at the young.
What do you think about local politicians selling their ideas directly to your kids?