Margaret Howes, Empire Vale
Much has been written in newspapers lately about the Ballina Council’s famous ‘swap with cash’ deal with the NSW Fire Service.
Good on Vince Kelly for exposing this one! Mr Hickey hasn’t come after me yet to find his security loophole!
Why on Earth the council would want to lumber itself (meaning ratepayers) with a heritage building that can’t be knocked down, can’t be developed, and is a pain in the proverbial to do anything with, defies logic.
This seems to be a backdoor way of getting a fire service for Ballina Airport.
Because of growth in air services and passenger numbers, the council has to provide emergency fire services to each end of its airport runway with a three minute response time in the event of an air crash. It also has to provide foam, which has only been available from Alstonville RFS – over 10 minutes away.
Isn’t it time the Ballina ratepayers stopped subsidising this airport? It seems to have greater patronage among Byron Bay tourists than locals. When did Byron Shire contribute towards its expansion and upkeep? Never!
If Mr Hickey wants to justify his recommendation on the ‘swap with cash’ deal, maybe he should get the RFS to put their building to public auction to ascertain its real value.
Keep up the good work, Vince – you might be a thorn in Mr Hickey’s side, but you’re a legend!