Ballina is hoping to be next in line after the state government announced it was spending $1 million to dredge the lower Tweed River and Terranora Inlet over the next few months.
NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water Kevin Humphries and Tweed MP Geoff Provest announced yesterday that Sandpiper Dredging, a Tweed-based business, would carry out the Tweed dredging.
‘The work is expected to take 20 weeks and involves dredging 26,600 cubic metres of sand from the lower Tweed River between the confluence of Terranora Inlet and Barneys Point Bridge,’ Mr Humphries said.
‘A further 26,400 cubic metres of sand will be dredged from Terranora Inlet opposite Ebenezer Park.
‘The proposed dredging will remove shoaled areas and improve navigation for boaters in these sections of waterway.
‘Sand dredged from the river and inlet will be used to nourish beaches at Fingal (Lower Tweed) and Kingscliff, in the case of Terranora Inlet dredging.’
The NSW Government is funding the projects under the dredging of priority waterways on the north coast program.
Ballina mayor David Wright said Ballina was also keen to get on with dredging its waterways to improve access for trawlers and yachts.
Cr Wright said the government had already approved and would fund dredging in trawler harbour at Ballina, with work set to begin later this year.
But he said the council had also applied to dredge North Creek, with the sand used to fill land near the Southern Cross Industrial estate.
‘We’ve got permission to do it but we still have to do the environmental impact statement,’ Cr Wright said.
‘We’ve also applied to dredge the river mouth.’
Cr Wright said the river mouth dredging was regarded as a short-term solution so ‘we need to look at a longer-term solution such as a sand pump, but that could cost $25 to 30 million’.
‘We’ve already got eight trawlers working out of Ballina and if the river mouth was made safer we could have more,’ he said.
Improved access to the river would also be a boost to the tourism industry, he said.
He said the council was investigating improving the marina near the Ramada resort, but was hoping to build a bigger marina on land owned by the state government near Fisheries Creek.
‘We’ve also got plans for another wharf next to Captain Cook park near the RSL Club but that’s another three million dollars,’ he said.