Foreshore development anger in Crown lands inquiry

NORTH Coast community groups have told a parliamentary inquiry into Crown lands reform they need more support from the New South Wales Government.

The Ballina Environment Society made a submission relating solely to Lake Ainsworth, claiming the neighbouring Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park was damaging the local habitat.

It stated the Grafton Office of Crown Lands, in pursuit of the caravan park's financial interests, took contradictory environmental positions, refused to acknowledge communications from community groups and appeared to have given support to an "undefined, non-accountable protest group making scare-type claims against already Crown Lands agreed-upon positions".

It follows years of debate over whether a road dividing the lake from the caravan park was detrimental to the fragile environment.

"The saga of the roads network around Lake Ainsworth is a sorry one of neglect and commercial interest domination," the submission said.

"Grafton Office of Crown Lands' dominant interest is in maintaining the best advantages for its profit at the expense of the ecology of the lake and public recreation.

"Appropriate balance must be restored and defined in some clear way not subject to commercial domination."

Brunswick Heads Foreshore Protection Group made similar accusations following its fight to protect the beachside town's coastline from development.

"There has been no meaningful community consultation and community input regarding major changes to our foreshore parklands, caravan parks and boat harbour," it said.

"Other than regular mowing there has been no ongoing maintenance of any foreshore parks, their toilets or other facilities.

"There needs to be major ongoing improvements in all areas of maintenance of these parks: topdressing and returfing of grassed areas, removal of graffiti, weed removal and revegetation and toilet upkeep.

"Approved major plans are not in keeping with the low key 'simple pleasures, low key' vision for our town.

The group said all communication with the State Government by residents had been ignored.

"The community's only hope of saving Brunswick Heads from these unwanted changes and retaining our town's unique, unspoilt, beauty is this enquiry.

"We hope you can help us."

Lismore City Council had gripes of its own about its major city landmarks, parks and civic buildings located on Crown land.

"The reality is council are the owners and operators of these sites, and subsequently invest millions of dollars into the operation, maintenance of the buildings and grounds," its submission stated.

"The Crown provides no financial support at all.

"A review should be undertaken of Crown properties with council, with the aim to transfer from Crown to council for zero cost, these sites so councils can manage their own assets."

The inquiry continues. -ARM NEWSDESK