Clean-up campaign ramps up
PETER Campbell says Ballina has "brand damage" following the publicity about shark attacks in recent years, and cleaning the beaches of flood debris is a simple step to help fix that problem.
Mr Campbell is the manager of East Ballina's Grandview Apartments, which has holiday lets.
He said he is regularly asked by holiday-makers if it is safe to swim at local beaches.
He said the logs which washed up on Lighthouse and Shelly beaches following the floods earlier this year didn't help alleviate visitors' concerns about safety.
"Getting trees off the beaches is a start," he said. "It (the debris on the beaches) doesn't make people want to come here."
Ballina Shire Council recently rejected a proposal by Cr Sharon Cadwallader to clean up the flood debris in what was a close vote, decided by a draw from the hat.
Staff reported to the meeting that the "council's current level of service, determined by resolution many years ago, is to clear debris that is considered a risk to public health and safety".
Staff reported there had been regular inspections of the beach following the floods, and council crews had been "undertaking the ongoing collection of debris in locations that may potentially cause a risk issue for beach users and swimmers".
Beth Martin, of East Ballina, is a campaigner for the clean-up to occur.
She wrote in The Northern Star's sister paper the Ballina Shire Advocate last week that council "don't get the importance of our beaches that bring multiple tourist dollars to our region".
Another concerned resident, Brian Mullens, has launched an online petition called "Clean up Ballina's beaches" at gopetition.com.