Ballina Shire Council has urged locals and visitors to stop visiting Dalwood Falls, which is closed to the public.
Ballina Shire Council has urged locals and visitors to stop visiting Dalwood Falls, which is closed to the public. Marc Stapelberg

Death at waterfall sparks safety warning

BALLINA Shire Council has called for locals and visitors to heed warnings against trespassing at Dalwood Falls after another tragedy there.

Ballina mayor David Wright said it was "terrible" to see another death at the waterfall after police found a woman's body at the property late on Saturday night.

Cr Wright urged people to heed the warnings and stop trespassing at the site, south of Alstonville.

The council resolved in March last year to look at selling or transferring the 2.399 hectare site to the Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council, and to list it for sale if that doesn't eventuate.

While this process continues, Cr Wright reminded residents and visitors the beautiful but dangerous waterfall was off limits.

But he said the prospects of physically keeping people out of the waterhole were limited.

"At the moment it still stands that people shouldn't access that site," Cr Wright said. "It can't really be fenced or anything like that. "If you want to get in, you're going to get in."

Cr Wright said the council had undertaken measures - including signs warning of the waterfall's multiple fatalities - to try to deter swimmers.

This has included signs warning entry to the waterhole was "prohibited due to high risk" due to "multiple fatalities and injuries" and large "no entry" signs.

He hoped the council's eventual sale of the property would mean more surveillance would naturally occur, discouraging would-be daredevils from visiting the falls.

"We've done everything the Coroner suggested to keep people away from it," he said.

Cr Wright said that after several other deaths at the falls, it was tragic to see yet another death there.

"It's a terrible thing," he said.

Police said the woman's death was not being treated as suspicious.

Dalwood Falls was closed to the public in June 2016 after the death of a 31-year-old man who had jumped from a tree.

His death was the second recorded at the popular waterhole and authorities have recorded numerous spinal injuries at the site over the years.

Hanging Rock, near Nimbin, has also been a cause for concern, with a 14-year-old dying there in 2010 followed by a man, 19, in 2015.

The council's group manager for development and environmental health Matthew Wood said conversations with the Jali LALC were continuing and they hoped an outcome might be possible before the end of the year.