Shaws Bay Improvements

Ballina Shire Council has developed a Coastal Zone Management Plan to improve the ecosystem and facilities of Shaws Bay. 

Shaws Bay was formed when North Wall was constructed at the mouth of the Richmond River to Ballina.

The bay is tidal and includes part of the former river course and exchanges water with the Richmond River. It is a popular spot for picnics, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and walking.

This scenic and popular area has varied landforms ranging from gently sloping beaches to a steep sandy escarpment which includes littoral rainforest species.

The seagrasses in the bay are regarded as some of the best in Northern NSW and provide an ideal environment for safe snorkelling.

Recent works at the Shaws Bay precinct include:

  • dredging of the bay
  • foreshore improvements along Pop Denison Park
  • beach nourishment of existing access points around the bay
  • expansion and rectification works on groynes on the eastern arm along Fenwick Drive
  • boardwalk style path connecting Compton Drive into Pop Denison Park, meandering alongside vegetation and allowing for saltmarsh to establish in the ecological zone.
  • creation of sandy beaches
  • improved carparking
  • installation of access ramp, showers, seating, picnic tables and shelters
  • new shared-paths around the bay
  • new toilet facilities at Pop Denison Park
  • mangrove removal along the training wall and on the western foreshore on Compton Drive. This will be repeated annually under licence from the Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries.
  • water testing and monitoring. Samples are tested weekly under the Beachwatch Program.

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.

Banks were stabilised and access to the bay improved. Sandy beaches were created and access to some areas is restricted to promote revegetation. 

Completed: May 2018

Budget: $650,000

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

Action 2: Dredging

Objective: Reduce infilling and improve water circulation.

Council has received grant funding from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment under the Coastal and Estuary Grants Program to complete dredging works.

  • Dredging – Two areas in the main section of the Bay will be dredged to reduce siltation, maintain deep water, improve tidal circulation and improve water quality.
  • Sand processing – Dredged material will be pumped to a temporary processing site at the northern end of Pop Denison Park. Processing will involve screening the sand to remove shells, large organic matter and other debris. This sand is then pumped through a hydro-cyclone to remove silt and fine organic material to produce clean sand. 
  • Beach improvement – After processing the dredged material, the clean sand will ‘top up’ existing beaches and address areas of bank erosion. 
  • Ecological enhancement – The northern area of Shaws Bay is identified in the CZMP as an ecological protection zone to balance impacts associated with other amenity improvements. Some of the northern area will be managed to create additional saltmarsh to provide an ideal habitat for a large range of estuarine species. 

See below for Hydrosphere Consulting detailed reports. 

Completed: early 2021.

Budget: $110,000 

Funding partners: Ballina Shire Council and the Office of Environment and Heritage. 

Action 3: Improve Compton Drive Foreshore

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

Users of the western foreshore can now enjoy improved parking, access ramp into the water, showers, shared-path, seating and picnic shelters. Stormwater systems have also been realignment to improve treatment.

Completed: May 2018

Budget: $380,000

Funding partners: Ballina Shire Council.

Action 4: Expand Pop Denison Park

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

Access to the eastern foreshore will be improved by continuing the shared path and providing additional carparking. 

Completed: early 2021.

Budget: $350,000

Funding partners: Ballina Shire Council.


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The General Manager
Ballina Shire Council
PO Box 450
Ballina NSW 2478

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40 Cherry Street
Ballina NSW 2478


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