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Byron Shire
February 9, 2023

Ballina considers marinas for the future

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Ballina is planning for the future of boating. (Supplied image)
Ballina is planning for the future of boating. (Supplied image)

Darren Coyne

Ballina Shire Council’s port taskforce will today consider a bold plan to build a $56 million marina.

If the ambitious proposal goes ahead in the Kingsford Smith precinct, the council could be the entity to drive the plan forward, despite it being proposed by private interests.

Developers Peter Marshall and John Kelly have provided a concept proposal, and costings, to the council, which will be considered by the Ballina Port Taskforce at a meeting at 6pm.

Under their proposal, marina berths and associated infrastructure would be built along with a mix of apartments, condominiums and a resort.

The developers believe the project would recoup $155,633,000 in property sales.

They say 350 people would be employed during the eight-year construction stage, with another 315 jobs created once the project was completed.

Meanwhile, the taskforce will also consider improving marina infrastructure at the existing Ballina Boat Harbour and the neighbouring RMS land.

General manager Paul Hickey said in a report to the taskforce that the council had heard back from Transport NSW about improving the boat harbor.

‘As a result of this correspondence Council staff have held discussions with representatives from RMS in respect to the RMS depot site and even though there is a possibility that the depot could one day be relocated, there is no firm commitment that this will happen anytime in the short to medium term,’ Mr Hickey said.

‘One option that has previously been discussed is whether council should partner with agencies such as Transport NSW and NSW Trade and Investment (Crown Lands) in an attempt to obtain planning approvals for this location for expanded marina infrastructure,’ he said.

‘Obtaining planning approvals may create a higher potential for a private sector entity to consider investing funds into this location.’

Mr Hickey said further feedback from the taskforce would ‘be of interest’ to the council.

Meanwhile, the taskforce will also consider a wish-list put forward by the council to the state government’s draft regional boating plan.

The first item on the list is to conduct a one-off dredging of the Ballina bar to determine what benefits such a dredge would provide.

Members of the Richmond Valley Anglers Action Group and the Ballina Fishing Club have previously expressed alarm at the proposal, with concerns that dredging could be harmful to marine life.

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  1. I had a look at the concept plan in the Northern Star on Saturday. I was absolutely gobsmacked that this plan would take away most of Ballina’s public parks, river access and sporting facilities and give back only a miniscule amount of public space. This concept plan if approved would destroy the public amenity of Ballina forever. I urge every Ballina resident to closely look at these concepts plans and provide feedback to Ballina Council as soon as possible.

  2. Such an exercise should be done with extreme care and caution, consulting with the community at every step and if we can utilise the existing infrastructure all the better than compromising existing community open space. Most of the focus seems to be on the short term gain for a few, this must be a community exercise to the long term benefit of Ballina, all of us.
    To suggest the dredging of the bar would be a one off is nonsense. It will have to be done regularly and someone will have to pay for it to get full value out of the facilities otherwise it becomes just another major housing project masquerading as an integrated development once the bar sands up again.
    My biggest concern is the talk seems to be about seeking a single mega developer to build the whole project, no. Every effort has to be made to make sure the work stays here not just a bunch of blow ins on 457 visas and Brisbane DIDO to save money and if it requires the council to project manage so a maximum number of local workers and contractors get the work then so be it. What is the point of undertaking an exercise that will stretch our community and infrastructure to the limit to have all cream going offshore or interstate. We have one of the highest rates of unemployment in the state, having yet another project where all the workers and contractors are blow ins and the final ownership isn’t local just breeds resentment and contributes little for massive cost to our community and environment.
    The whole exercise has to become something more for Ballina than an exercise in creating multiple photos ops and ribbon cutting events for local pollies and a money pot for a few. We either do it right, do it here or not at all.


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