Shaws Bay Precinct

Water quality and amenity improvements

Ballina Shire Council has embarked on a series of actions from the Coastal Zone Management Plan to improve the Shaws Bay precinct for the health of the ecosystem and our community. 


Shaws Bay is the body of water that was formed when the northern training wall of the Richmond River was constructed near the river entrance at Ballina.

The bay comprises part of the former river course and exchanges water with the main river every day. It is a popular spot for leisure activities such as picnicking, swimming, snorkelling, canoeing and walking.

The area is very scenic and the landform varies from gently sloping beaches to a steep sandy escarpment which retains littoral rainforest species. The seagrasses in the bay are regarded as some of the best in northern NSW and provide a wonderful environment for safe snorkelling.

Current changes to access

As you may have already seen, preparations for works at the Fenwick Drive end of Shaws Bay have commenced. Council’s contractor, Synergy, will start the erosion control works (Action 1) on Monday 5 February 2018. Council apologises for any inconvenience caused by the access restrictions, which are in place for safety reasons. This stage of works are anticipated to be completed by late May 2018. During this time, further access will be made available as works progress and are completed.  Council has delayed these works until after the summer holiday period to minimise inconvenience to the community. This project has been partly funded through NSW State Government grant funding, which requires the works to be completed by June 2018. 

Protecting the health of the bay and providing community access

A Shaws Bay Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) has been developed to establish management objectives, address management issues and identify community desires for the future management of Shaws Bay.

The CZMP was certified by the NSW Minister for Planning and was Gazetted on 24 June 2016 and includes a series of actions that will assist to achieve the plan’s objectives.

Ballina Shire Council will progressively work through these actions, and has identified the following works to progress (illustrated in attached factsheet).

Actions completed or underway

  • Mangrove removal will once again occur prior to Christmas along the training wall and on the western foreshore adjacent to Compton Drive (juvenile mangroves and as per licence from Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries).
  • Water testing and monitoring for recreational swimming quality under the Beachwatch Program commenced in November and occurs weekly.
  • New toilet facilities at Pop Denison Park (completed).
  • Erosion control works (along Fenwick Drive).

Action 1: Control bank erosion and siltation into the bay

Objective: Improve the water quality of the bay and the recreational amenity of the reserve. Improve access from the reserves to the bay.

The existing rock will be removed, banks stabilised and access to the bay improved. Sandy beaches will be created and access to other areas will be closed to allow for revegetation. Much of this work will be carried out at low tide.

Timeline to commence: February 2018

Anticipated Completion: Late May 2018

Budget: $480,000

Funding partners: Ballina Shire Council, Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Industry - Lands.

Action 2: Dredging

Objective: Reduce infilling and improve water circulation.

This stage of the CZMP is of great importance for the health of the bay. Council is discussing proposals with Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries and Office of Environment and Heritage.

Council has received grant funding from the OEH to advance the investigation, studies, approvals and licences required to progress the dredging works. 

Timeline to commence: Investigation already underway with the sea-grass mapping completed and sediment core samples obtained.

Anticipated Completion: June 2018

Budget: estimated to be up to $500,000

Funding partners: Ballina Shire Council, Department of Industry - Lands, Office of Environment and Heritage. 

Action 3: Improve Compton Drive Foreshore

Objective: Enhance safety and recreational amenity of the foreshore and improve stormwater systems and treatments.

Carparking on the foreshore has been formalised as well as safer shared path access through the foreshore. Realignment of stormwater and improved treatment also installed.
The accessible ramp, pedestrian refuge and additional seating and recreational facilities due to commence early February 2018. 

Timeline to commence: commenced and ongoing

Anticipated Completion: April 2018

Budget: $360,000

Funding partners: Ballina Shire Council.

Action 4: Expand Pop Denison Park

Objective: Enhance ecological value, foreshore access and recreational amenity of the Park.

These works improve access to the eastern foreshore. The shared path will also continue through this precinct with additional carparking. 

Timeline to commence: soon

Budget: $350,000

Funding partners: Ballina Shire Council.


Further information:

Development and Environmental Health Group, Ph: 02 6686 1210. 

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