Ballina Council briefs
Tree feller could be prosecuted
Ballina Council staff have recommended Council prosecute the owner of 42 Johnstons Road, Alstonville, for illegally clearing native vegetation.
Staff responded to a complaint from neighbours about the clearing last February. They found significant amounts of large native timber logs on the property as well as Camphor Laurel stumps.
The rainforest removed from [the property] is considered to be ecologically important as it formed part of the Big Scrub Rainforest association, the staff report said. The majority of the Big Scrub Rainforest association has been cleared, only 300ha or 0.4 per cent remains today.
Aerial photography confirmed the existence of the rainforest remnant prior to clearing, which the landowner claimed was only white ant infested regrowth.
Ballina councillors will decide at their meeting today (Thursday) whether to proceed with the prosecution.
Optus plans 38m tower
Optus Mobile wants to build a 38-metre mobile telecommunications tower on industrial land at Alstonville.
Ballina Council staff say the tower will have a substantial visual presence and will be visible from parts of Alstonville, Wollongbar and surrounding areas. It will be painted mist green to help it blend into the environment.
The Optus tower has only drawn one complaint in its exhibition period and staff have recommended it be given approval.
Tinkerbell in a hurry
Tinkerbell shopping centre developer Mirvac is keen to get the complex open for business in the next six weeks, but its failure to complete one of the consent conditions concerning road access to the Pacific Highway could be an obstacle.
Mirvac has proposed interim access arrangements by modifying the Angels Beach Drive and Bangalow Road roundabout and an internal intersection with the K-Mart/Coles site. The developer has asked Ballina Council to issue an Interim Occupation Certificate on the basis of these measures so the centre can open.
DCP goes on exhibition
A new Combined Development Control Plan, generated by reforms to the NSW planning system, will go on public exhibition for six weeks. Council is looking for public comment on Chapter 2 Ballina Town Centre and proposed changes to the Ballina Heights Estate.
New tip cheaper than trucking garbage
Opening a new rubbish dump at Ballina Councils Southern Cross landfill site will be much cheaper than trucking the trash to Ipswich.
A report by Council staff has found the trucking option would mean an increase in annual garbage fees of 30-40 per cent, compared to a 10-15 per cent increase to fund the $6 million construction of the new garbage area, and $2.5 million for approved works to cap off and close the old site.
Ferry under microscope
Ballina Council staff have come up with a detailed report on the Burns Point Ferrys finances following a request by councillors. The ferry has run up a $500,000 loss over the last five years and some councillors thought it should be sold, or even given away.
Staff have come out in favour of retaining the ferry and increasing the cost of season tickets. The report pointed out that many other community services are provided at a loss, but said it was up to councillors to make a policy decision on whether the ferry should be regarded as being like a road or bridge.
Councillors will make a decision on the ferrys future at todays meeting.