RESTRICTED ACCESS: Deadly waterfall 'not a safe place to be'
CONSIDERATION of a no-parking zone and lowered speed limits near a popular but deadly waterfall has been supported by the local council.
Ballina Shire Councillor Eoin Johnston brought a notice of motion before last week's ordinary meeting to consider a plan of management for Dalwood Falls, near Alstonville.
This came after an amendment seeking that they first try to sell the waterfall and the 2.5 hectares it sits on.
But councillors eventually unanimously supported a new motion by Cr Jeff Johnson, which asked that they write to the RMS to review speed zones near the site, receive a report on providing a no-parking zone around the waterfall and continue managing the falls in accordance with recommendations from the coroner and from their insurer.
There have been deaths and numerous injuries at the waterfall.
During the debate, councillors heard it could cost $800,000 to construct infrastructure to allow people to safely visit the site.
Speaking after the meeting, mayor David Wright said the site was "not a safe place to be" without "a lot of work".
"It was a pretty messy debate because everyone was so emotional, everyone was torn," Cr Wright said.
During the debate, Cr Phil Meehan said he was happy to see a plan of management, but not one that was "making it more accessible" and stressed their priority should be to "support public safety".
He suggested a no-parking zone along the road 1km either side of the waterfall entry point to make it harder to visit.
"How will we be if we make it more accessible ... and then a further death occurs?" he said.
"We will have been part of that journey."
When Cr Meehan asked staff at the meeting whether the council's current approach was in line with the coroner's recommendations, they said it was.
Further enabling access, however, would be "in conflict" with those recommendations, the council heard.
The council has had discussions with the Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council regarding whether they could arrange a sale or transfer of the land, but this has not proceeded at this stage.
It's understood the property has not been listed for sale in part because of these ongoing discussions.