It's a skate park not 'a nuclear power plant'
"PEOPLE must think we're trying to put in a nuclear power plant."
These were the Ballina mayor's thoughts during a debate about whether concept plans for a skate park in Wollongbar should be placed on public exhibition.
Cr David Wright used his casting vote to quash an amendment, in which Cr Sharon Cadwallader sought for Alstonville's Geoff Watt Oval to be further considered as a possible skate park location.
All councillors except Eoin Johnston ultimately supported a motion to seek the community's input on designs for a district park, including a skate park, on the corner of Rifle Range Rd and Plateau Drive at yesterday's (THURS) meeting.
Councillor Phil Meehan moved a staff recommendation that the concept design be released for public comment, backed by Cr Jeff Johnson.
Cr Phil Meehan said he believed the design was "excellent" in terms of providing diverse infrastructure to service the broader community.
"In the end we'll be directed, to a large extent, by what that consultation brings back to us," Cr Meehan said.
"Let's let the community have their say."
Cr Sharon Cadwallader said she was "all for community consultation" on the Plateau Drive site but also hoped for more consideration of Geoff Watt Oval in Alstonville.
Cr Sharon Parry said the Plateau Drive site appeared "too small" for all the proposed features of the park and urged her colleagues to "keep the options open".
She moved an amendment that they receive a further report on that site as well as placing the current design on exhibition.
Cr Jeff Johnson said he'd support a skate park in both Alstonville and Wollongbar and argued consideration of Geoff Watt Oval shouldn't rule out a Plateau Drive facility.
"This has been going on for so many years," he said.
"We've looked at so many sites.
"I think these communities could have one in both villages," he said.
"I don't want to delay this any further or we won't have a skate park in this term of council.
"We want the skate park to be in the community.
"I would like us to move forward with this public exhibition as soon as possible," Cr Johnson said.
When Cr Ben Smith queried a timeline on the proposed facility, the council's general manager Paul Hickey clarified it was not at a development application stage.
"It's not a DA process at this point in time," Mr Hickey said.
Cr Nathan Willis said Geoff Watt Oval was problematic as all three locations where a skate park could be built there were floodways.
Cr Stephen McCarth, who spoke against the amendment, said a key issue was "getting people off computers" and he believed a skate park would help young people to do that.
Cr Wright said the concept design was probably "the best integrated plan" he'd seen.
"This one is I think the best integrated plan I've ever seen."
Cr Cadwallader's motion was lost with the mayor's casting vote, then all councillors except Eoin Johnston voted to put the plans on exhibition.