New Crown Reserve for East Ballina

Landcare volunteers have welcomed the creation of a major new Crown Reserve covering over 48 hectares for environmental and cultural heritage protection in East Ballina.

The reserve was gazetted by the NSW Government on November 30.

President of East Ballina Landcare Group, Dr Lee Andresen, described the new reserve as the culmination of 10 years of unrelenting hard work by the East Ballina community through their local Landcare group.

The story began in 1997 when some 200 local residents protested the proposed subdivision and sale of the East Ballina Crown lands for residential development, Dr Andresen said. They sustained their protest over almost a year, until the authorities relented and engaged consultants to do an environmental assessment of the 57 hectares worthy of conservation for future generations.

On May 15, 2001, East Ballina Landcare Group was formed at a community meeting with its main aim to protect as much of the land as possible as a reserve. Since then it has maintained pressure on the authorities to complete the task, Dr Andresen said.

Over 44 hectares are now reserved for environmental protection and another four hectares for heritage and environment. That makes over 48 hectares never to be developed or destroyed a tremendous result for Ballina Shire, he said.

Ballina Shire Council has already undertaken to manage the reserve in trust and Dr Andresen said the Bundjalung people have already named it Allawah Bushland Reserve Allawah meaning resting place in Bundjalung.

A celebratory event for residents will be held on the site early next year. Anyone involved in the original protests 10 years ago or wanting to join the celebrations should contact the group at PO Box 166, Ballina, 2478.


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