Ocean pool plans to go before council
TALK of an ocean pool will be back on the agenda for Ballina Shire Council this week.
But council staff have recommended they hold off on any planning changes until other matters are resolved by the proponent, the Ballina Ocean Pool Committee.
Along with a report that will go before today's ordinary meeting, councillors have received reports on coastal engineering, community and business impacts, marine ecology and traffic and parking implications of the proposed ocean pool which were prepared for the committee.
Staff have recommended the council's endorsement of planning approvals required for the Shelly Beach project should be "subject to the resolution of native title matters, incorporation of the project into a relevant plan of management and the completion of appropriate planning and technical assessments".
Councillor Phil Meehan brought the matter before the council's March meeting, when he asked for the report that's now been finalised to be prepared.
The report set out various aspects of the plans, including the fact about $10,900 of a $50,000 State Government grant held by the council had been spent on a marine ecology study, site study for a proposed access ramp and legal advice regarding land zoning and native title.
The ecological study found the rocky shore at Shelly Beach had a "low habitat complexity and supports a relatively low diversity of common intertidal species" and that an ocean pool there was "unlikely to have any significant ongoing impacts that will negatively affect the ecological communities or ecosystem function".
The community and business impacts study found residents and businesses revealed "widespread support" for the proposal.
Of those surveyed, 87 per cent supported the project and 85 per cent believed there would be "strong positive impacts".
At the March meeting, Cr Meehan said bringing the report before them should not be "a debate for or against the ocean pool".
"It's important the community understands what we're talking about," he said.
"When the community further understand this they'll form their opinion in an informed way."
In the same meeting, Cr Sharon Cadwallader said the community must understand the ocean pool proposal wasn't a "council project".