16.9 C
Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Ballina to consider leasing its airport

Latest News

Local youth among those hardest hit by housing affordability crisis

A 20 per cent spike in rents is driving an increase in youth homelessness across the North Coast, the organisers of a national campaign to end homelessness say.

Other News

Local youth among those hardest hit by housing affordability crisis

A 20 per cent spike in rents is driving an increase in youth homelessness across the North Coast, the organisers of a national campaign to end homelessness say.

Interview with Toni Childs

Internationally celebrated musician, Emmy winner and three times Grammy nominee Toni Childs is bringing her show to The Brunswick Picture House. With two acts, Childs is promising a special two hour performance as she celebrates her vast catalogue of music, which also saw her celebrate the 30th anniversary of her critically acclaimed album Union in 2019.

Byron Bay wants Byron Baes to back off

Faster than speeding reality TV producer, members of the Byron community have swiftly mounted a multi-pronged attack against the proposed ‘influencer’ based Netflix show Byron Baes.

Pottsville policing forum asks the hard questions

Members of the Pottsville and Tweed Coast community say that in response to an increase in criminal activity in the area and their request for increased police presence, they were hosting a police presentation at Pottsville.

Byron Drag Racers World Record

The local AAA Racing motorcycle team have set a new world record in 100cc class, as well as a top national speed in 50cc class at the recent Australian Speed Week held at Salt Lake Gairdner, South Australia.

Suffolk Park Pump Track

We the ‘Engaged Neighbours’, on behalf of the Suffolk Park pump track’s affected neighbours and 300–400 petitioners and letter writers, request Council NOT to continue to bulldoze the large fenced in section of Linda Vidler Parkland adjacent to Baz and Shaz’s shop, close to the houses on three sides.

Ballina Byron Gateway Airport. (file pic)
Ballina Byron Gateway Airport. (file pic)

Psst. Anyone want to buy or lease an airport? Both Ballina and Lismore councils have now confirmed they are considering the future of their airports.

Ballina mayor David Wright said Ballina Council would look at appointing a consultant to prepare a report about leasing Ballina Byron Gateway  Airport at its meeting next Tuesday.

‘It would definitely not be a sale. Because we own the whole area we wouldn’t want to lose control,’ he said.

Cr Wright said the airport continued to grow and would require a large investment of about $20 million to provide further infrastructure for that growth.

Cr Wright said passenger numbers had increased from 260,000 two years ago, to 400,000 at present, with numbers projected to increase to 500,000 by the end of next year.

He said $14m had recently been spent on the runway and other areas of the airport, and the Federal Government was going to spend $12m on a new fire station.

But as demand for services at the airport continues to grow, another $20 million will be required to upgrade infrastructure into the future.

‘We know there are a lot of companies out there, such as superannuation companies, which are looking for long term investments and ours is a very viable business,’ he said.

‘We want the airport to grow and offer better facilities. We want to make it better for everyone and this is mainly about putting the case for infrastructure.’

But Ballina Councillor Keith Williams has warned his colleagues to be careful of so-called ‘magic puddings’, following the staff recommendation to consider a long-term lease.

‘We need to be wary of consultants who bring forward proposals with lots of “mights” and very few “wills”,’ Cr Williams said today.

‘The only thing that we can be sure of at this stage, is that consultants and advisors make a lot of money regardless of whether their clients fare so well.’

Cr Williams has been opposed to moves from The Greens to privatise Ballina Council’s commercial assets.

‘The idea that you can sell income-producing assets to build community infrastructure that then requires ongoing operational funding is voodoo economics’, he said.

‘While long term leasing seems superficially attractive, the devil is in the detail.’

Tuesday’s agenda item contemplates council running a competitive tendering process to select a consultant, who would then advise council on the various long term tenure options available and potential financial returns.

Meanwhile, Lismore council this week confirmed it is also considering either selling or leasing its airport.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell told Echonetdaily that no decision had been made, and she gave an assurance that existing tenants such as Rex Airlines and others would be fully consulted about the process.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. They should look at privatising all their functions such as water and sewerage, road maintenance and everything else. Ratepayers cannot continue to pay ridiculously high rates to maintain the fantasy that a group of random people who happen to get elected every four years are capable of managing the complex array of businesses that a Council engages in.

  2. ‘The idea that you can sell income-producing assets to build community infrastructure that then requires ongoing operational funding is voodoo economics’

    As one of the Councillors who thinks that Ballina Council should focus on it’s community infrastructure backlog instead of diverting further capital (rate payers funds) into speculative commercial property investments, I feel a need to respond to the above throw away comment.

    Council’s role is to provide infrastructure and services to the community. It is able to do this through rates, fees and charges, and State and Federal Gov. grants.

    I would suggest that investing millions of dollars into commercial investments that provide a low return does not make economic sense if the premise for doing so is ‘to provide an additional income source to one day help fund community infrastructure projects’.

    The cost of delivering these projects (surfclubs, sports centre, pools, etc) is going up by more than the ‘return’ council is generating from its ‘investments’. Furthermore, the value of these ‘investments’ (steel factory, cafes, arcade, etc) has not increased in value but quite the opposite, has lost value.

    I believe the majority of the Ballina Shire residents would rather have an Indoor Sports Centre, more cycleways, upgraded public pools, etc that be the proud owners of a $5 million factory building, or a portfolio of cafes.

    Let the private sector invest to provide jobs and economic development. Council can then focus on delivering the infrastructure and services that a growing community needs.

    Cr Jeff Johnson
    Ballina Shire Council


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Fresh faces for Council elections

A very distinct, black flat-cap has just been thrown into the ring for the upcoming Byron Council elections, pegged for September 4.

Follow the buck$

JK Mckenna, Burringbar Give Fast Buck$ his own column in the paper. Let him speak. Let him be heard. Let’s also see some accountability from councils...

A bouquet for Lilac House

L Jenkins, Byron Bay Nicole Habrecht should receive free paint and brushes and a pat on the back from Council for maintaining her house in a...

Bruns boarding house showdown Thursday

The stage is set for a crucial debate over the Brunswick Heads ‘Corso’ development in Byron Council this week, with staff recommending that the developer’s revised plans be approved.