A WALKWAY linking Ballina and Lennox Head has received a prestigious engineering excellence award from the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia.
The Angels Beach Coastal Recreational Path Project was designed by the Composite Fibre Technologies division of global construction materials and infrastructure business Wagners.
It was installed by Coffs Harbour-based B&S Property Services.
Ballina Shire Council, Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council and the local Aboriginal community worked in close collaboration to ensure the heritage of the project was preserved.
Wagners' engineering general manager, Michael Kemp, commended the council for its vision to create a shared pathway, which would enable the community to safely walk or cycle between the two towns.
"A significant part of this project has involved the path's construction through the East Ballina Aboriginal Place, which is a place of high importance to the Traditional Custodians of the land,” he said.
"This section stretches 6km along the Ballina coastline from Angels Beach to Sharpes Beach.”
The section of the pathway has 22 large interpretive signs in recognition of the Aboriginal cultural values. The signs tell stories of historical events, dreaming, language and connection to place.
Mr Kemp said there was 900m of raised boardwalks and viewing platforms to avoid direct and indirect impacts on sensitive vegetation.
Ballina Shire Council's civil services group manager, John Truman, said the pathway was an exciting project that had really been embraced by the community.
"It's exciting that visitors and locals can now explore the rich Aboriginal heritage amongst the beauty of the Ballina coastline,” said Mr Truman.
He said a web-based app has also been developed and could also be used in conjunction with the signage to provide complementary material along the path.
Mr Truman said the CFT used by Wagners in the project added value to infrastructure without compromising integrity.
"We've had a lot of success with Composite Fibre Materials in the past and it was the right material to construct the boardwalk and viewing platforms,” he said.