High rise buildings are creating
High rise buildings are creating "dead spots" and erratic wind conditions for sailors on the Richmond River at Ballina. Marc Stapelberg

High rise buildings take the wind from their sails

SAILORS are fearful more high-rise buildings along the Richmond River at Ballina will cut the wind from their sails.

They say the buildings will create "wind shadows", which affect air flow, creating more turbulent, erratic and unpredictable conditions including dead-air zones.

But Ballina Shire mayor David Wright said they have nothing to worry about regarding the plan to change zoning laws to allow for more shop-top residential building along the river frontage.

"It's not going to be like the Gold Coast," he said.

But the council's response to the Richmond River Sailing and Rowing Club commodore Phil Robbins, suggested buildings up to 18m or six stories could be granted development approval.

Mr Robbins said he was concerned about the impact on the river and the possibility high rise buildings could cause areas with no wind and spoke at the July council meeting's public access period, to address councillors.

"We don't have any objections (to the planning proposal) but the proposal is looking at the land-use along the river shore and residential flat development there, and that has an impact on our sailing club," he said .

"For example the new one at Kerr St, the big residential block there, six storeys high, that has a devastating effect on the wind on that part of the river...we can't actually sail there, it's right in the middle of our usual sailing course and (now) it's a big, empty dead spot.

"It's highlighted the issue for us that in future if council approves buildings along the river of that nature. it'll have a very negative impact on sailing for us and our club."

Club member Trent Morgan sent a letter to the council explaining that even on days with strong wind, "there can be an almost complete blockage of wind".

"This means a boat travelling along at a great rate, only to come to a great halt sometimes results in the boat tipping over or capsizing," he said.

"To lose this spectacle (yacht racing), which is a real possibility if more large buildings destroy the quality of sailing, making sailors go elsewhere, would be a huge loss to Ballina."

Cr Wright said: "All we want is to have the shop-keeper live above their premises".

"This doesn't mean someone can't put in a DA for higher building."