The Byron Shire Echo – Issue 36.14 – September 15, 2021

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North Coast News

North Coast news online

More than 8,000 free meals given away in Ballina lockdown News from across the North Coast online

www.echo.net.au Will Sydney’s trash be Richmond Valley’s ‘treasure’ Richmond Valley Council say they have welcomed an announcement by the Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, and the Minister for Energy and Environment, Matt Kean, that the Richmond Valley has been identified by the NSW Government as a potential location to establish a new thermal waste-to-energy facility.

West Ballina and Chinderah casual contact COVID locations Two confirmed cases of COVID19 have transited through the Northern Rivers this week with casual contact sites at both West Ballina and Chinderah.

Our ‘freedoms’ and the Queensland border bubble Queensland has announced that the border bubble with New South Wales will be reinstated, but not in the way many had hoped.

Controversial Iron Gates development in Evans Head given another crack On 6 September, 2021 GoldCoral was given a Clause 55 variation by the Northern Regional Planning Panel that allows them to submit further plans to develop the Iron Gates site.

Following the lead of Western Australia and Victoria

Mia Armitage Around 8,000 free meals were given to a dramatically increased number of people needing them in Ballina over the lockdown period, starting August 9. Organisers at the Rotary branch in Ballina, volunteers for the Ballina Hot Meals service at Ballina’s Masonic Lodge, and workers at the Cherry Street Sports Club, have all described a rapid spike in the number of people needing help to get by when work and revenue stopped for many as a consequence of the lockdown. Greens Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith, raised the alarm early in the lockdown on BayFM, after receiving a letter from the Rotary Club referring to single parents struggling to feed their families, women sleeping in their cars and elderly people needing help. Many people reportedly lost work in Ballina when retail and hospitality outlets

Cherry Street Sports Club Head Chef, Keith Windsor. Photo Jeff Dawson were forced to close or significantly reduce their productivity. Ballina Hot Meals, who offer services twice per week, were overwhelmed with demand and in need of extra volunteers.

Ban on gatherings Ballina Hot Meals has provided dinner to the homeless and others in need for more than twenty years, but the service was threatened shortly after the pandemic

declaration last year. A local church had funded them through money collected during services, but ran out of money when in-person events were restricted under public health orders. A desperate call for help was issued and that’s where the Cherry Street Sports Club (CSSC) entered the scene. ‘Our motto is “profit for purpose”,’ CSSC General Manager, Tere Sheehan, told The Echo last week. ‘Our purpose is to

continually improve the lives of our members and the community we live in’, Mr Sheehan said, ‘so this situation was something that we just couldn’t ignore’. Mr Sheehan said the CSSC board ‘committed to $25,000 per year, for three years’ to get Ballina Hot Meals ‘back up and running and fully funded’. ‘Our board of directors graciously approved to pay staff through this lockdown, which was tremendous,’ Mr Sheehan said. ‘So we ramped up the kitchen again, and started preparing meals.’ Speaking last week, Mr Sheehan said the club was ‘just about to hit the 6,000 meal mark’ since the ninth of August, and volunteers had given away around 2,000. ‘So it’s definitely been needed, that’s for sure,’ Mr Sheehan said. But the support wasn’t limited to free dinners anymore. Mr Sheehan said Ballina Hot Meals served breakfast all through lockdown seven

days per week and gave away fruit and veggie boxes thanks to a local Ballina business, Hartley’s Fresh Market, as well as care packs for men and women provided by local pharmacies. The club was also running online raffles each week through its Facebook page to help pay for the meals and to promote local businesses that supplied vouchers and other prizes for the raffles. Mr Sheehan described the lockdown as ‘one of the most horrible times in a club manager’s career’. He said the club was closed, there was zero revenue and he worried about his team of 54 staff. ‘But in so many ways, this has probably been the best month of my career,’ he said, ‘to be able to give back and do what we’ve been doing, it’s just heartwarming’. Q Mia Armitage is a BayFM member. Listen to Mr Sheehan’s interview, aired 10/09/21 via Community Newsroom at bayfm.org.

Creatives feature in Lismore plan Dam advocate loses bid for new water science team Creative industries, climate resilience, building more homes and supporting a flourishing food sector are all aspirations within a 15-year vision for Lismore. Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, said in a press release that ‘Lismore will become the Newtown of the Northern Rivers’. ‘Lismore is home to the highest number of artists and creatives in regional NSW and by encouraging investment in the arts we will see it transform into the Newtown of the Northern Rivers’. ‘The community wants to see more diverse and climate-conscious housing, and the plan will help

Following the leads of Western Australia and Victoria by adopting a plan to phase out logging of public native forests, is what a local alliance is asking of the NSW Government.

Ballina Shire Council votes down affordable housing at old depot A majority of Ballina Shire councillors have voted against developing an affordable housing project on Ballina Island’s state-owned old depot.

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achieve this, in partnership with Council’. The Lismore Regional City Action Plan’s key goals and objectives are to, ‘Promote jobs growth, leveraging new opportunities in tourism and existing employment nodes around health and education; provide more and different types of housing to give people greater choice; support Lismore as the heart of the Northern Rivers; deliver an accessible and vibrant city centre; and identify and deliver the infrastructure the city needs to make it a more attractive place for investment’. To view the plan, visit www.pp.planningportal.nsw. gov.au/lismoreRCAP.

Mia Armitage Independent Ballina Shire councillor, Sharon Cadwallader, has failed to gain majority support within water utility, Rous County Council, for an independent water research team in the region. Cr Cadwallader said earlier this year she’d be running for mayor in the upcoming local government elections (December 4) and that water security, particularly the dumped Dunoon Dam proposal, would be one of her key campaign issues. With most town water in the region coming from the Rocky Creek Dam, Rous said last year demand was expected to outstrip supply

by 2024. Cr Cadwallader expressed disgust when the Rous County Council voted against reconsidering a new dam in Dunoon, saying the decision showed democracy was dead given they’d rejected a petition of more than 10,000 signatures in support of the proposal. More recently, the independent councillor tried to convince her fellow Ballina Shire councillors of the need for a new independent scientific research organisation.

‘Rous County Council has now proceeded with the adopted option of groundwater in order to meet the 2024 deadline’, Cr Cadwallader wrote in her notice of motion in late August. ‘Alstonville residents are being notified of the impending water quality testing from the Clarence Moreton Basin,’ she wrote, adding that ‘no data exists as to the quality or volume of water in that basin. It remains an unknown’.

The Byron Shire Echo Volume 36 #14 • September 15, 2021 Established 1986 • 24,500 copies every week

www.echo.net.au Phone: 02 6684 1777 Editorial/news: editor@echo.net.au Advertising: adcopy@echo.net.au Office: Village Way, Stuart Street, Mullumbimby NSW 2482 General Manager Simon Haslam Editor Hans Lovejoy Deputy Editor Aslan Shand Photographer Jeff Dawson Advertising Manager Angela Harris Production Manager Ziggi Browning

Nicholas Shand 1948–1996 Founding Editor

The Echo acknowledges the people of the Bundjalung nation as the traditional custodians of this land and extends respect to elders past, present and future. Disclaimer: The Echo is committed to providing a voice for our whole community. The views of advertisers, letter writers, and opinion writers are not necessarily those of the owners or staff of this publication.

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