Ballina has moved a step closer to having a new marine rescue tower.
Retiring Ballina MP Don Page yesterday announced $550,000 funding from the state government after an earlier application for funds was refused.
The new tower, along with a carpark, toilets and drainage works, is expected to cost about $2.3 million, with Ballina Shire Council providing $1 million and the council has applied to the Federal Government’s Stronger Regions Fund for the extra $1 million.
Mr Page said the tower watched over 2300 vessels across the northern NSW coastline each year.
‘This funding means the radio tower can now be redeveloped and the community will soon have a modern, safe and operational tower,’ he said.
Ballina mayor David Wright said the funding announcement had been unexpected, but welcome.
‘It’s good to see Don’s come good … now we have to wait for the federal government,’ Cr Wright said.
‘We should know in March this year.’
Cr Wright said the proposed new tower would greatly improve marine safety along the local coastline.
‘The old tower is set back a bit but the new tower would be right on top of Lighthouse Beach with views up and down the coast,’ he said.
‘It will have modern equipment and lifts for the members who have had trouble accessing the old tower.’
Just last week, Cr Wright told APN media that the National party would have trouble being reelected if funding was not found for the proposed tower.
His comments followed a funding rejection by the NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister Stuart Ayers.
In the meantime, however, $350,000 funding has been found from the budget of the Public (Crown) Reserves Management, plus an additional $200,000 low-interest loan to Ballina Shire Council.