Surfers left in the dark over Ballina ocean pool

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)

In 2011, 42-year old surfer Richard King was killed after being struck on the head by a boat navigating Currumbin Alley. A year later, Gold Coast City Council chaired a meeting prior to their annual Currumbin dredging campaign inviting all the user groups to attend: recreational boaters, local fishoes, as well as representatives of the tourism minister, transport minister, local councillors, and even state members of parliament. 

Every stakeholder group was present at the meeting, except for surfers.

Not the local Surfrider chapter, the local boardriders club, the surf industry task force, nor Surfing Queensland, or Surfing Australia who have an office twenty minutes down the road and a charter that says they’ll advocate for recreational surfers.

The stakeholders with the most at stake - at least considering King’s death - weren’t present. 

Though it happened almost a decade ago, this example illustrates how local surfing communities have historically been left out of conversations they should rightfully be a party to. Coastal development is increasing and the beach is a contested zone, it’s used by many groups, including surfers.

Recently, Ballina Council proposed construction of a new rockpool at the southern end of Shelly Beach, adjacent to Speeds Reef, and it’s a case of history repeating.

The pool, which will likely measure 50m x 20m, was first proposed in 2016 while the Lennox-Ballina communities were in the throes of shark fear, with both swimmers and surfers anxious about entering the ocean. A rock pool was considered a safe compromise for ocean swimmers. 

It also needs to be pointed out that, the same year the pool was proposed, plastic ‘eco barriers’ designed to repel sharks were installed at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina. They were abandoned after a few months amid concerns from the surfing community about the likelihood of entanglement and drowning. The surfing community wasn't consulted about the installation of the barriers.

To progress the pool, a community group was formed, the Ballina Ocean Pool Committee, and in 2017 they got a shot in the arm with a $50,000 state government grant to finance environmental and engineering reports. From there things moved quickly: in 2017 a marine ecology report was commissioned, similarly a local business impact report, and in 2018 they commissioned UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory to prepare a Coastal Engineering Report.

Shelly Beach, and Speeds Reef, as seen from Ballina Head lookout

Mark Hernage is the president of the Ballina branch of the Surfrider Foundation, he led the opposition to the installation of plastic eco barriers at Ballina, and he’s at the forefront of public opposition to the ocean pool, however Hernage wants to make one thing clear.

“We’re not in outright opposition to the pool,” says Mark. “We just haven’t been consulted. Surfrider hasn’t been consulted and nor has LeBa [Lennox Ballina Boardriders].”

“We’d consider surfers to be key stakeholders,” continued Hernage. “So why haven’t they spoken to us?”

“Recently Councillor Jeff Johnson was on Paradise FM talking about how it wouldn’t affect the surf and I just don’t know how he can say that without it being studied.”

Originally, Ballina Ocean Pool Committee chose six possible locations on the rock platform, but they’ve since chosen the most likely location (location #3 in the WRL report - see image below). This would locate the pool midway along the rock platform and at its eastern-most point in the wash zone.

Six potential sites were proposed, with council since choosing site #3 (WRL)

Speeds Reef is a sand-dependant wave, it relies upon longshore drift for sand to pile around the rocks and the wave to break. It can go months, seasons even, when the sand isn’t there and nor is the wave.

One of Mark Hernage's concerns is the effect of backwash on sandflow. It’s well-known that hard structures cause wave scouring and that could stop sand accumulating around the rocks. It’s also possible that backwash could ruin surfing amenity.

The fact is, it’s not immediately obvious what negative effects a pool may have on wave quality at Speeds Reef; coastal processes are complex and the outcomes are often unexpected. As Mark Hernage says, “Do we just trust them, even when they haven’t considered our concerns?”

Councillor Jeff Johnson is adamant there’ll be no negative effects on surfing amenity. “I’m a surfer myself, as are a few people on the [Ballina Ocean Pool] committee,” says Cr Johnson. Asked why they hadn’t approached surfers for their input, Cr Johnson replied with some exasperation: “We asked for input from Shelly Beach Surf Life Saving Club, many people there surf.”

“Also, we did investigate any impacts on the surf zone and it was found to have no impact,” said Cr Johnson. The investigation was the aforementioned Coastal Engineer’s Report and a letter of testimony from Associate Professor Rob Brander at UNSW that states the following:

“I think the chosen location to install the pool is in no way detrimental to any existing physical processes involving breaking waves, alongshore water movement and currents and the transport of sediments. In my opinion, the pool will not lead to any negative environmental impacts and the location is eminently suitable in this regard.”

The Coastal Engineering Report is 129 pages long and presents a seemingly comprehensive analysis of the pool’s impact. However, in the entirety of the report ‘surfing’ is mentioned just three times, and no time does it consider changes to surfing amenity at Speeds Reef. It's simply not accounted for.

Further, when Swellnet contacted Associate Professor Rob Brander, he was adamant that his testimony related solely to physical processes and not to surfing amenity, as it was now being presented. Prof Brander was mortified that his words were being taken out of context. He wasn’t asked about surfing so he didn’t examine it.

Clearly, the lines of communication have been mixed up. Firstly, by speaking to Shelly Beach SLSC, Ballina Council thinks they’ve spoken to surfers, yet the two largest formal surfing organisations on the coast say they haven’t been approached. Secondly, the two investigations were comprehensive and convincing about the lack of effects on coastal processes, yet neither included surfing amenity in their criteria.

When Swellnet next called Cr Johnson he’s in a conciliatory mood. “I think part of this [surfers questioning the pool] comes from how we handled the shark barriers,” admits Cr Johnson. “In hindsight it would have been prudent to make a better effort to speak to surfers.”

Nevertheless he thinks the latest opposition is all part of a political scare campaign. “All our committee love the ocean and are certainly not out to ruin the surf and be disrespectful to any user group,” says Cr Johnson.

Later that day, Swellnet is chatting about the issue to National Surfing Reserves founder Brad Farmer who raises the point that if the area was a Surfing Reserve the council would be bound by law to include surfers in any decision making. The local NSR committee would be the point of contact with each surfing organisation standing behind it.

It’s not the case, however, the Lennox Head NSR stops three kilometres north at Flat Rock, so Speeds Reef is on its own. Farmer understands the surfer’s point of view, of course, but interestingly he uses the same word Cr Johnson does to describe how the surfing community must be feeling.

“Being left in the dark like that, it just reeks of disrespect,” says Farmer.

Postscript: Cr Jeff Johnson will obtain another WRL report on 28th February. 


Dave Drinkwater's picture
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Dave Drinkwater Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 11:57am

“I think the chosen location to install the pool is in no way detrimental to any existing physical processes involving breaking waves, alongshore water movement and currents and the transport of sediments.

I "think" is the issue here........Once they start digging into the rock shelf there is no turning back and these guys cant be trusted.... They could ruin this wave forever. I say change the location...

spitti handshapes's picture
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spitti handshapes Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 12:47pm

looks like a perfect place to extend the existing rock slab and produce a better surf break,,,, and within it a few swimming pools,,, then im sure the local surfing mob will be thumbs up and into it,, just a suggestion,,

AndyM's picture
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AndyM Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 1:02pm

The littoral zone is sacred, just leave it alone especially if you don’t know what you’re doing, which these guys clearly don’t.

By the way, great write up Stu, if I’m after solid info about issues like this, I go to Swellnet before any other source, including the ABC.

stunet's picture
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stunet Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 2:24pm

Cheers Andy.

This touches upon another issue that's probably best dealt with below the fold. Recently, artist Nicole Larkin did an overview of all NSW's ocean rockpools, which appeared on both the ABC and the Guardian's websites.

People love rockpools and I can understand that, I enjoy swimming in them myself sometimes, but when you looked through all Larkin's photographs it was clear that some pools are little more than authorised vandalism, built with little to no sympathy of the existing platforms.

Made me wonder how much we value natural ecosystems vs built ones.

The purpose of her project was to conjure admiration, but for some of the pools I could only think of what we lost. Straight edges and right angles, black marker lines and diving boards, on an otherwise untouched headland. 

Worse, from a surfing point of view, were the ones that effect sand flow and wave shape. Austinmer pool, just north of where I live, throws backwash through the lineup on any tide above mid. I've no idea what the wave was like before the pool because it was built in 1914.

Then there's the example at Bulli that Matt describes below. Neither of them should be allowed to be built now.

Sure, rockpools can be great, but decision makers have to look at the entire ecosystem surrounding their chosen location. If they build, then err on the side of caution, and hopefully create something that's not a crass concrete monument.

AndyM's picture
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AndyM Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 2:56pm

Exactly Stu.
It might be a tad esoteric for some but at what stage are we truly going to value the natural environment.

Drilling into and blasting basalt that has been there for maybe 23 million years is just vandalism in my books.

And it’s very difficult to imagine that the siting of the pool at the edge of the rock platform won’t cause backwash on higher tides.

How can the precautionary principle not apply in this case?

Johnyuleanderson's picture
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Johnyuleanderson Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 12:56pm

The only caveat being when we alter said natural environment to make a
Super bank or add an artificial reef. Then alter away!

AndyM's picture
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AndyM Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 1:22pm

I’d say most of those - the Superbank, TOS, maybe even the Palm Beach Reef are more good luck than anything else.
Surfing was never the main consideration of those projects, I doubt it was considered much at all.
And so it is with Shelly Beach.
Big Groyne Kirra stuffed the break for years, by all accounts Jardim do Mar is irreparable.
Can’t say I’m a fan of altering surf breaks, intentionally or not.

Deffenti's picture
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Deffenti Saturday, 22 Feb 2020 at 3:41pm

Palmy Reef was designed having an improved surf break as one of main objectives. As for the others, I agree that luck was probably the main factor (let me add Napoleon's efforts in Capbreton to your good list).

epictard's picture
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epictard Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 3:04pm

I have often wondered if Wombarra pool had any effect on the sand, or general lack there-of, on the banks there.

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JackStance Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 11:40am

need about 6 weeks of nor east wind to blow sand into the corner. but, as well as swells removing it, IMO its the water that washes around the back of the pool that gets the sand removal started, and probably makes it hard to start gathering.. there only needs to be a 2 ft high wall to redirect that water, and, IMO, there'd be sand there regularly.

Logical's picture
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Logical Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 2:47pm

I still can't see why surfers need to be consulted.
Are Surfers consulted about the amount of marketing and promotion going into surfing globally that simply floods our breaks with more people trying surfing - of course not....

AndyM's picture
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AndyM Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 1:19pm

Haha, gotta be trolling.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 1:15pm

“We asked for input from Shelly Beach Surf Life Saving Club, many people there surf.”

Ha ha! Farken’ great response. Pretty clueless really. Time for the Boardriders to make some noise I reckon.

surfstarved's picture
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surfstarved Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 8:32pm

Claims to be a surfer. Considers talking to clubbies as "consulting surfers".

Collective facepalm ensues...

Where do they find them, and why do they keep sending them to us? It's the perfect example of the low average calibre of people seeking to be our political representatives in this day and age. A couple are worse, a couple are better, but on average they're basically...well... average.

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matt.gallagher Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 1:17pm

Bulli beach in Wollongong is a perfect example of how it can affect the surf. There’s an Olympic size pool and a kids pool. East of the head land. The kids pool has to be dredged every couple of months to remove sand. Sand that would have moved north and helped the right hand point break peggies, break better. I’ve heard it’s a shadow of its former self.

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Sprout Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 1:58pm

Great view from #6.

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 2:49pm

Lol @ sprout
"Look option 7 is free ."
"We'll we won't make any money off that then."

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steve byrne Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 4:52pm

Careful - someone will think it's a good idea to fill it with Tuna or Kingfish or whatever!

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 7:35pm

hahahahahaha option #7!

think of how fit you'd get swimming out there to do your laps...

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 2:13pm

Number seven looks a tad ambitious.

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Distracted Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 2:19pm

Number 7 might be the floating option

With the new tidal pools they prefer them above the intertidal zone to avoid constant sand removal, as mentioned above, and wave damage which all the older ones are subject to.
So they require pumps to get water in and out of the pool, which sounds expensive but is apparently cheaper. But really they are then more a pool near the beach rather than a classic tidal pool such as those one on the Northern Beaches.

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velocityjohnno Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 7:37pm

Northern beaches tidal pools are pretty cool. Big novelty in seeing them if you didn't have anything like it around when younger.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 7:55pm

WSL -Recent Sunny Wave Pool Consult was even more of a stretch...
Starkies Meeting of 50 one on one > swellnet report.(Yes! We ticked the boxes? WTF)
Ok! So they wade thru to seek 1 in 100 that supports sucking Maroochy River Dry.

Coolum SLSC (Stacked with Pollie / builder proponents + Tourism Development SC )
Throw in MP junket + Bribe Premier / SC CEO & Mayor for Upzone.(Page 38 all sorted)
Be careful asking for compliance, you just fast track the whiteshoes nest egg.
Wave Pool developers are the most corrupt by far... this lot have been around longer.
Few realise there is already an Ocean Pool in the said, they will catch us out!

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 10:45pm

Saltwater History... Ballina "Bullen Bullen"
Runners relay message Sticks to Games Nations.
Hinterland Outpost Fires Signal the Smoking Arena Cauldron...Let the Games Begin!
East Coast Tournament Arenas (3 usually) 2 trials onto The Main Arena
That's right! Ballina was The Birth Place of the Olympics...(Balugan)-Fighting Hero!

What you see here & next outcrop are several Fish Traps of varying size & depth.
A variety of fish are needed to feed up to 5,000 at the Games Arenas.
World's oldest Seaboard Structures..."WH site"...hardly think so!

Ok! tbb gave you plenty of time to find the Ocean Pool?
Firstly! Ballina has reclaimed many Creek River Pools since 1912.
1956 Ballina Rotary constructed a Protected shallow (Children's Ocean Pool)
This Ocean Side Pool is located in Box #2 (Lower Corner) Ask how it's going?

What's most at risk & highly prized is an East Coast Ocean Toll Booth...(Huh!)
Burleigh Heads has a similar Situation as do many Ocean Pools (All Private!)
All block ocean thru-fare...most with a (Town < Open Licence > Sea)
100% free Ocean Access for life...Pool > Pier > Breakwater > Marinas > & Beyond.

[ Disclaimer ] tbb is currently not able to access the Surf & sees value in Surf Pools.
Surf convalescence is universal & proven...all save a fortune in low cost therapy.
This can only happen if Natural & communal spirit is paramount to one's recovery.

Note each option needs elevators to covered hand rails across upper Beach track.
Down elevators to closed rails carrying Plumbing & Wiring blocking beach thru-fare.
Electric current for swing lifts or a/h use lighting + plumbing for drinking Water.
This is extremely dangerous as it places all near beach goers at risk of electrocution.
For that reason alone can actually prohibit thru-fare or surfing within 200m.(re: Piers)

Box 1 = Is most accessible & is only Pool above ECL tide. (Blocks Beach access in ECL)
Offers very little Ocean Engagement as during ECL the pool would be closed.
Street frontage gives Free Title lease Marina/Bar address onto a above?
Community could at least fight off Club's sly beach access proposals.
Thus leaving beach accessible for all East Coast beachcombers.

Box 2 = Incorporates original Ocean Pool - FNC SLSC leasehold.
Ramps / Rails would block beach thru-fare...private SLSC {No Trespassing}
Goes under & needs pumping in decent full tide but buys SLSC free Ocean Access.
Has precedent of Rock Quarry for Pool & Future "Private" Beach Works

Box 3 = Is accessed by a Steep Private Property off an easy Public Carpark.
Incredible cost for Council electrics & plumbing also Elevator cues for each visitor.
Private Health Condos retreat with pretend access until rezone locks out public.
Most likely to detour Beachgoers around "Private Health Care" arrangements.
Once again affords Ocean development options...also goes under the most.
Constant pumping of sand, this option is so expensive! Council can least afford it!

Box 4 - Pool alone Blocks entire East Coast Beach access (Very rude)
Again banks off Steep Carpark Lookout...needs elevators...strictly private affair.
Ocean Development options. (This includes Pontoons / Piers / Hill height build.)
Ironically the original Ocean pool may end up in Future Penthouse Pool's Basement

Box 5 Ballina / Lismore ( Super SLSC )Pool also blocks East Coast beach access.
Also extends Club onto the beach & Ocean development options.
High tide beach goers must walk around or thru Club then around hill to continue
Both 4/5 + (3+Handrails) East Coast detours are considerable (4-5 kms up hill detour)

Council knows that by blocking thru access increases the worth of Private Beach

Just one meshed off Hand Rail to the Ocean Pool shuts locals out of 3.5 kms of beach.
Locals would soon give up walking 5kms back around to earlier easy entry/exit point.
tbb doubts if upper Beach track is left free as access is across can't be rushed by law!
Grey army would see any attack on disabled access as whinging...Suck it up...Surfies!
This plays into whiteshoes hands by leaching off disabled for private beach rezones.
Possible revival of Private Seaside Convalescence Villas with Ocean Wave Pools.

groundswell85's picture
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groundswell85 Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020 at 11:26pm

This is 2020 right?
Jeff Johnson is a kook and Sydney blow in. This whole pool concept has become about his ego and saving face instead of admitting it’s a terrible idea. I’ve never seen him in the water in my life. *Third gen local, cut my teeth surfing either side of the Richmond River for the past 27 years and spent plenty of time out Speeds. The money to build and maintain a pool would be better spent maintaining Shaw’s Bay and Lake Ainsworth or even on dredging and sand nourishment of local beaches. If Jeff and his mates are still hell bent on carrying out the grandiose idea of an ocean pool in Ballina. Build it at the southern end of black head and clean up the mess left from the state government when they mined the headland for rock for the breakwalls. If the pool is positioned in the right spot it could actually improve the surf amenities around black head.. exposing reef structures with sand scour etc
Unlike Speeds where its likely to destroy wave quality and create erosion of south Shelly Beach.

seen's picture
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seen Friday, 21 Feb 2020 at 1:46am


Mishad's picture
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Mishad Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 7:36am

This is surprising given the presence surfers have in Oz. Squeaky wheels and all that
perhaps. In a parallel universe, local surfers have been key in providing advice in a coastal engineering project that is designed to save St Francis Bay Beach (South Africa) could impact Bruces Beauties for the better.

See more here

My recently (8 years) adopted local surf area (Cape Saint Francis, South Africa), in particular its neighbouring beach, St Francis Bay beach which is immediately down [longshore] drift of Bruce's Beauties is facing severe erosion issues due to development and sand dune stabilisation of the 4km long headland. After a bureaucratic process which was started 20 years ago, an engineering firm has been given the green light to conduct a design study for construction of a series of perpendicular groynes to halt the beach erosion. The groyne installation is to be combined with a regular sand nourishment (dredging from a local estuary and sand pumping) plan.

This coastal engineering is always risky and especially here as modelling during the EIA for the proposed solutions is minimal to non-existent. This is envisaged to happen in the engineering design phase. Hope to god they get it right. To do nothing the beach is gone, do something and they might save the beach but inadvertently create new problems.

My point is, surfers are being openly consulted to help determine the exact location and design which will provide the best chance of providing quality surfing waves (secondary to the prime function of halting beach erosion).

NB: the whole project is privately funded, ie A mix of various home owner associations and other private stakeholders. No public funds are available to provide basic services in the country let alone more complex engineering projects, such is the state of affairs here.

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theblacksheep Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 8:12am

Once they threw $50k at it and formed a “committee” then this thing obviously can’t be stopped. Imagine if it was a waterfront apartment in the same location how all research would miraculously be against it.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 9:53am

" If Jeff and his mates are still hell bent on carrying out the grandiose idea of an ocean pool in Ballina. Build it at the southern end of black head and clean up the mess left from the state government when they mined the headland for rock for the breakwalls. If the pool is positioned in the right spot it could actually improve the surf amenities around black head.. exposing reef structures with sand scour etc"

Only thing that makes sense.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 10:58am

Isn't that the life saving club near 5 ?

You would think thats the obvious choice to have it as close to life saving club as possible and carparks.

Would have thought with 2 and 3 being the worst choices.

lostdoggy's picture
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lostdoggy Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 11:27am

Lighthouse SLSC is near 5 and Shelley SLSC setup at shelley beach from club just out of screen to the North. The screen pretty much cuts off right at the shelley club.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 11:53am

I’m still really surprised at the lack of consultation with the Boardriders. The clubs are all so strong in that part of the world and are an integral part of the local communities they reside in. Surfing is the major ocean activity there and it beggars belief that surfers would be overlooked for consultation.
At my local we have a small Boardriders club with maybe fifty active members, and yet we are deeply involved in any local projects that affect the beach. Not so much due to the strength of our club but of the local council’s willingness to engage with us.
I would really like to know what’s actually going on over there.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 12:51pm

Utility: ALP seek popular alternative Ocean HQ to (Lib's blue Ribbon SLSC Cashcows)
Proponents: " Every marginal beach must have one." (Pretty much as as said!)
$4.5m Feds + $4.5m State handouts for Ocean Pools- Landscaping for rails / showers.
Olympic / Paralympics (Power-Swing Lifts + Water) + Nipper / Swim Squads.
The amount of proposed use suggests early evening/morning path/pool entry lighting.

tbb: Town West < > East pool rules override North < > South Beachgoers.

Positioned on Hillside drops over widest beach to most distant ramped Ocean Pool.
Note: Twin Stainless Rails with many supports (Costly longest hot rails in summer!)
Rails Block beach thru-fare for those with Boards, Kidz, Tents, Umbrellas, Chairs etc.

Translation: New Ocean Pool Kiosk seachanges into outsourced Olympic Village

This is an insane amount of resource & a major expedition to access this Ocean pool.
Many disabled folk (Me) can swim all day but even with rails this pool is way too far!
tbb can assume that no disabled were part of Ballina Pool discussion. (Almost cruel!)
In fact the Pool Guy reckons that the Clubbies 4WD chairs would be cool!
Rest assured, no Govt sponsored Paralympians will be going off the rails.
Pool guy also reckons No Patrols! (Disabled / nippers unpatrolled between 2 SLSC's?)
Can't believe folk are buying into this half baked scam...(Bloody insult to beachgoers!)
tbb is a disabled surfer and will be less likely to visit Ballina with this pool.

SCU : Recommend Deen Bros will remove all yer common muck from Shelly's Slab.
Ocean Pools grind a finer blend of Fish Paste...nuthin' personal & nuthin' $U$$.
Good luck with yer thingy Ballina ...lots of love 'Experts!'...checking our mailbox now!

Ballina Coastcare: Saltwater "Culturally sensitive Rockscape needs defending."
Being only one of two rock platforms in the shire.
Construction noise & pollution also constant utility upkeep access will harm critters.
(49 bird species) (Intertidal-Crabs, Pipis, Whelks, Sea Squirts)
Schools Marine environment education will be compromised.

UNSW Surf Scientist: "No way, would that nice Pool hurt them there waves!"
Surfrider Foundation: Listing Speeds Reef as Endangered & seek informed opinion.
Pool Boy:
"No idea if we need Pumps or which break will closeout with what Pump outlet!
We'll build a breakwall between us & the surfers if we need to.
If pool gets silted, we'll raise the height by 2.5m...
Can even add to height of Ocean Pool to adapt to Climate Change!"

Note: Future Pool goers need only hire Ocean Bar going Ferries from Port Side?

Mick Fanning: " This is not cool !"
Stu Kennedy: " Fuck that thing right offffff !"

warddy's picture
warddy's picture
warddy Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 3:58pm

What are those cockheads thinking ...
I thought ocean/ beach pools was back in the dark ages..
If shark paranoid people want to swim in a pool why don’t they swim in there own pools or go to the ....
Local pools already there ....

morg's picture
morg's picture
morg Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 at 10:33pm

This parallels Newcastle City Council’s plan to develop a skateboard park that extended too far on to South Newcastle Beach. Rather than consult the surfers and local community they tried to dismiss and discredit them as NIBY’s. Fortunately the Community rallied and the original plan was changed. Had it progressed the recent king tides and swell would have smashed it.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Thursday, 20 Feb 2020 at 12:27pm

morg...good call -> think this is the latest...
Newcastle Council $billion Skaterz Hwy Robbery.
Skatebowl do-over Encyclopedia Volumes 100-101
Surfrider has it on endangered waves list "Nov 19".
Pending Final Plans Review (Early 2020)

PS: No Event Capacity + Skaterz will claim Mega Beach steps

[ IMPORTANT ] NSW Council Beach Licencing
Page 10 Newcastle Beach Skate Park
[Colour Code]
(Must have) Blue # Priority Rank < > Orange Least Rank
[Beach Bar Blue] 11% < 19% < 19% > 20% > 30% > [ Orange ]
P. 12- Rank services of Pavilion from promoted table list...
1 Kiosk 2 Bar 3 Youth Space 4 Shop 5 Community

Kidz just approved Newcastle Whiteshoe Beach Hotel chain.
Pretty sure UN calls that Child Exploitation...Destroy all Councils!

tbb: Expect nothing less sinister for adjunct Ocean Pool Kiosk!

gosurfdave's picture
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gosurfdave Thursday, 20 Feb 2020 at 10:33am

While there is focus on the Ballina Coastline can surfers who love a clean ocean environment in which to surf and swim focus on protesting about the Sewage Effluent discharge being piped into the ocean off the headland between Boulders and Sharpes Beach ? This discharge is straight into the Lennox Point Surfing Reserve and only 500 metres from the Marine Park. For way to long Ballina Council has gotten a way with this pollution . Time should be up for this archaic sewage disposal into the Ocean in the middle of some of Australia's finest surf spots.
Dave Dane

Bernie Wilson's picture
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Bernie Wilson Friday, 21 Feb 2020 at 1:12am

We went through a similar situation at South Newcastle Beach. The council wanted to build a skate bowl on the beach 22m x 26m with concrete bleaches around it, to protect it from the ocean. Basically 1000m2 of concrete on the beach. I suggest the people against this proposal get in contact with Professor Andrew Short at Sydney University. He is Australia`s leading Coastal Geomorphologist. Give him the coastal engineering report and engineering drawings to look over. He is a wise and experienced man whose opinions helped us in the local Newcastle press. Also look at the Coastal Management Act 2018, especially clause 13. This can help you out especially if you have an environmental lawyer in your corner. Any other info just contact me.

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bbbird Saturday, 22 Feb 2020 at 12:09am

Coastal Management Act 2016 No 20

The objects of this Act are to manage the coastal environment of New South Wales in a manner consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development for the social, cultural and economic well-being of the people of the State, and in particular:

(a) to protect and enhance natural coastal processes and coastal environmental values including natural character, scenic value, biological diversity and ecosystem integrity and resilience, and

(b) to support the social and cultural values of the coastal zone and maintain public access, amenity, use and safety, and

(c) to acknowledge Aboriginal peoples’ spiritual, social, customary and economic use of the coastal zone, and....
$ &
sea level rise & ....

Safer swimming is 2km away at Shores bay; though the mums & little ones did use the old rockpool at Shelly in the 80's. Pool must have washed away...

The old quarry / desecrated headland 2km north shelly beach could do with a revamp pool / skatepark / trees / picnic tables / plaque on the local ecology & historic masacre.

CathyByrne's picture
CathyByrne's picture
CathyByrne Tuesday, 25 Feb 2020 at 2:57pm

Hi surfers, I need a big crowd, good surf pic of Speeds Reef, Ballina to include in my presentation to Ballina Council AGAINST the OCEAN POOL by tomorrow. Anyone got one I can use? If so, please email to [email protected]

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Tuesday, 25 Feb 2020 at 4:52pm

When’s your presentation Cathy?
Is the public welcome?

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Tuesday, 25 Feb 2020 at 7:55pm

CathyByrne...Speeds Reef Photos

Guys Surfari Maps (6 Pack) East Ballina details Speeds Reef Line-Up!

Joggly has some super barrels...(Source)

Speeds Reef Sunrise after a Storm...

Source :

Need help please...If one of the crew could email these photos to Cathy! Salute!

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Friday, 28 Feb 2020 at 10:13am

First Up! swellnet crew salute sister Cathy for defending our patch of Pacific Ocean.

Headlines: (Pre Meeting)
Northern Star: "Should Ballina Council dump it's ocean pool plans?" [Pay News]

[Council Meeting] Open session!

(Environmental & Cost concerns circulated the Council Chambers)

[ Councillor Ben Smith put forward a motion to Dump the Ocean Pool ] Thank You!

swellnet sister Cathy Byrne spoke with conviction on behalf of Surfers & Beachgoers:

* " Local Residents shared concerns it will ruin Shelly Beach Surf !"
* " Local Surf organisations were not consulted !"
* " Wave Quality & Surfer Safety has not been considered !"

Crew are stoked & Salute Cathy for her bravery in defending our Coastline.

Sadly the foolish uncaring Council voted to destroy Ballina's majestic coastline.

" Ballina Shire Council vote to continue support of Ocean Pool " ...( Big Thanx NBN)

Advocate: " Bid to Dump 'Popular' Ocean Pool a Flop !" (Pay-News)

PS: Coastal Cities North & South are put on notice.
Support for Retro Ocean Pools is automatic political launch vehicle!

Surf Communities need to join many beaches are vulnerable targets.
" We have vowed to defend our Beaches !" [ Beach Closed to Land Sharks]...Fuck Off!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 28 Feb 2020 at 10:28am

As TBB mentions above, planning for the people will continue after Ballina Council yesterday voted to continue supporting the project.

From NBN News:

"Environmental and cost concerns circulated the Chambers this morning, after Councillor Ben Smith put forward a motion to dump the planning proposal before it reaches the development stage.

Local residents against the pool shared concerns it will ruin the Shelly Beach surf.

“They won’t come to a backwash ruined break. Local surfer organisations were not consulted. Wave quality and surfer safety has not been considered.”

Ocean Pool Committee members will now complete a detailed design to be lodged for development approval before the proposal is formally brought to Council."

See video link in TBB's post.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Friday, 28 Feb 2020 at 3:17pm

Huge thanx to Stu & swellnet for stepping up & taking the lead when it counts.
Crew know it takes guts to publicly stand up & speak out against the run of play.
Those fighting the good fight are penniless but stoked to have #1 swellnet upfront.
We shall fight to salvage the last scattered remnants of Paradise...that's what we do!

Feralkook's picture
Feralkook's picture
Feralkook Friday, 28 Feb 2020 at 5:26pm

Has anyone considered funding a campaign to get TBB elected to one of these councils to sort them out, Slot him in at Ballina, railroad that pool into the right spot as someone suggested earlier. Then move on to the next problematic council, GCC comes to mind. That will be the end of cruise ship stupidity. Surfers will have a voice and councilors' will go along with anything he says in admiration of his wordsmithiness. TBB FTW!

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Friday, 6 Mar 2020 at 11:15pm

Thanx...Feralkook...campaigned for then wife in Council & Mayoral Races.
tbb is not well enough but will join you in praising those who ring true.
Salute: Peter Turner (Kirra Surf) Who mentored my then wife's tilt.
Surf Patrons Rabbit and AndyM would win much support in this regard.

In support of our brave hearts, tbb will mop up Ballina council proceedings.
Packed Gallery!
Our fellow Ocean Defenders...
Cr Ben Smith motioned to discontinue current Ocean Pool project
*Council- Urgent Climate Change Response (not) Infrastructure in Vulnerable Zones

Cr Meehan (2nd ' Motion)
*Claims site ranked low in 5/10 criteria
*River Mouth Debris + Shifting Sands + Backwash on Surfbreak as site problems.
*Main Concern: The Enviro Impacts on only one of two rock platforms in Shire.

Cr Cadwallader also voted to discontinue the Pool

Motion defeated 7-3

Note: Cr Williams was positioned to vote alongside...
*Cr Williams voted for Pool but condemned Cr Johnson's denigration of community.
*Cr also wished for project to be brought under control.(Jumping ahead of process)

Cr Willis was of similar mind...
*Insisting Council be informed of costs & governance.

Note: In all fairness this Project doesn't sit that well with council. (*Quite easily 5-5?)
Crs public request for cost clarity of remote full able access, would shelve this project.

Proponents envisage an iconic world class, low maintenance pool that is accessible to people of all ages & swimming abilities and all physical & mental abilities, locals as well as visitors to our beautiful shire.

PS: tbb is treated for Mental & Physical ability issues & believes site is too prohibitive.
Both Current carparks measure 4-6 stories above & also most distant to this site.
Site requires elevators or complete foreshore destruction to zig zag marathon ramps.
All of these Ramps require stainless steel dual rails that divide to detour beachgoers.

Brave to talk up Paralympic all ability Pool with images of a isolated dead pond.
Outpost limits options to all or nothing (Any half measures will fail in 1st week!)

All : (Note: Distance is too arduous for Wheel Mats & Inflatable Chairs)+Wkly Pump.
[P] Lift,paved ramps,rails,pool lift-fence,lights,shade,water,showers,change,patrols.
Oz most remote ocean pool ever...Needs a Club Med Hospital to afford able amenity.

An oversized Frog Pond with no Patrols or maintenance but vital [NO SHARKS SIGN]
All can see the remnants of similar past pool in this tradition + they stink...(FAIL)

tbb doubts a council is stupid enough to build a pool in most remote beach location.
All see obvious 'able sites' with zero thru impact better than all crude Council options
tbb assumes pathetic pool is rancid bait for a licensed whiteshoe foreshore Gig.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Monday, 10 Aug 2020 at 10:29pm

Ballina Foreshore Update

17 March Ocean Pool (Post meeting Minutes)...
In short...the Council General Manager / Delegate requires satisfactory Tech' info.
{ See big surprise in store below }
Council shall endorse the preparation for application for planning assessment.
Council vote is still needed to lodge the Ocean Pool planning application.
This is more procedural than public process

Apparently plans are underway without Build Funding at this stage..

Ballina proposed Ocean Pool Timeline

26th March 2020 Kiosk Beach is renamed Gawandii (Bundjalung - 'Dolphin'-Beach)
This being the North Bank Beach inside the River Mouth.

17th June 2020 - Ballina Rock Fishers must wear a Life Jacket..($100 fine July 1)
Lennox / Black / Skennars / Ballina Heads + Iron Peg ...(Breakwalls are excluded)
Rules say anyone / child (Assisting) on Rocks
Declared Areas...unsure what rules are in store for "Declared (High Risk) Areas"

Shark sighting in a Declared Area during a Hazardous Surf Warning. (Land you in Jail)

{ ATTENTION } 1st July 2020...NSW Govt...Message

Unofficially! Official- [ Ballina Head Ocean Pool is Dead ]

1st July 2020 -Ocean Pool now fronts a "Declared High Risk Fishing Location"

State / Council can't insure #1 NSW Dangerous Ocean Pool Location.
Unless all pool users wear Life Jackets this Ocean Pool is dead in the water!
They could charge $100 go without Life Jackets...

*tbb is hailing this a victory for the Crew!

Ballina Surfers...simply take this Map to Ballina Council...
They must surrender their Ocean Pool Plans for any NSW Declared High Risk Area!
Council has no choice but to abandon this high risk venture!

News Headline -[ World scariest Shark Beach opens World's scariest Ocean Pool ]
Not gonna happen's over!

Port Macquarie "Oxley Beach" 50m Tidal Pool
Olympic Pool / Nippers / Kidz / Rehab section / Vision Impaired
Chosen as 1st NSW Ocean Pool site in more than 50 years.

Comments : White Elephant / Ugly / No Parking / Maintenance Costs
It also has a lot of supporters that bully any questioning of proposed pool.

eg: Other Town Beaches [P] > 60m to Waters Edge
Town beach is Level & perfect as Rock walls already half built (No eco damage?)

Ocean Pool site destroys natural Headland outcrop..
Oxley Beach [P] needs > Signal crossing (Many agree) + 120m slope to Ocean Pool
No traffic signal or 100m Railings are proposed...

Both Port Macquarie & Ballina blatantly exclude disabled & Family access to Pools!
Supporters chant it's not for disabled access...(But exploits the fact it complies?)
Proposed foreshore [P] + Amenities are way too steep for disabled / vision impaired.
Possibly a future Licensed Kiosk entry to designer jock rock Pool Club?

tbb, Disabled & Parents rule out Pool access without Traffic Lights...(Most agree!)
Dual Stainless Steel rails would need to line the Sloped Path & Pool + Lift / swing.
Designs show nothing of the sort...This is a Yuppies Pool.
There is no lifeguard proposed for either Pools yet waves splash over the rocks!

State $50,000 Feasibility Study by March 2020
May 2019 : Fed Govt $4.5m

Port Macquarie is a Coalition Pool in a marginal seat / Ballina is pushed by Labor
Apparently tbb has to say that...It's important for Pollies that spruik these eyesores!