New beach at Ballina has no name, what should it be called?
A new beach at Pop Denison Reserve is one of the outcomes of the dredging works completed last December at Shaws Bay in East Ballina.
But monitoring the area's ecological recovery is also an important part of the project.
Kerri Watts, Manager Public and Environmental Health at Ballina Shire Council, said the new beach does not have a name yet.
"We call it East beach," she said.
"It's a large area where a lot of sand and dredged material has been placed.
"It's quite a large beach.
(Images by Mick Howland - Hydrosphere Consulting)
She said while Pop Denison Reserve offers picnic facilities and a new accessible barbecue, the new beach offers a more natural experience to visitors.
"You can sit under the trees, it's a more natural experience," she said.
"That part of the bay has really good flushing and circulation (of water) so it's a lovely area to go and swim at.
"In that area, there was also a significant amount of mangroves and seagrass.
"That has been covered by sand now. We were allowed by state agencies to destroy that seagrass."
Kerri Watts said work at the beach also included replanting of native trees.
"We wanted to open that up to encourage people to have easy access in nominated areas, but at the same time we have closed access to other areas to protect them," she said.
Kerri Watts said after the works concluded, council started a two-year process of monitoring and assessing to ensure the works improved the ecological habitat.
"Under the management plan there was an area called the ecological zone, to encourage areas for marine vegetation and saltmar vegetation to grow," she said.
"We are looking at preserving the mangroves in that area, but also the seagrass."
She said an original plan of management for Shaws Bay was developed back in 2000.
"There was a lot of concern within the community regarding the health of the water," she said.
In the last four years, council commitment to invest in the Coastal Action Management Plan, which was gazetted in 2016.
Work started in 2017 with preparation and studies for dredging and foreshore improvement, a process that finished last December.
"Those initial works are coming to a close, but then we have to review the coastal management plan in light with the new legislation, to see what else needs to be done," she said.
But Ballina residents know what needs to be done: go visit the new beach and maybe find a name for the spot.