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April 20, 2021

Premier lobbied for funds for Ballina marine tower

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An artist’s impression of the winning design for the new Ballina marine rescue tower by local firm Dominic Finlay Jones Architects. Photo supplied
An artist’s impression of the winning design for the new Ballina marine rescue tower by local firm Dominic Finlay Jones Architects. Photo supplied

Premier Mike Baird has been given an official request to provide funding to build a new marine rescue tower in Ballina.

Ballina’s Greens MP Tamara Smith spoke with Premier Baird yesterday about the tower, handing him a letter from Ballina’s mayor David Wright.

The Echonetdaily reported this week that the existing tower, which has a dangerous lean, was finally closed on Monday after it was deemed to dangerous for volunteers.

A 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.

The council has also applied to the Federal Government’s Stronger Regions Fund for the extra $1 million .

Ms Smith said she had a ‘very encouraging’ conversation with Premier Baird late yesterday.

‘He is extremely sympathetic to the great work of our marine rescue and our desperate need for the new tower to be built,’ Ms Smith said.

“Since being elected as the Member for Ballina I have worked with Marine Rescue and all key stakeholders on solutions to the Ballina Shire Council’s funding shortfall to get this vital service operating safely in new premises for the benefit of our community.”

‘In response to the uncertainty around the tower’s funding I convened a meeting with all key stakeholders in August, including Marine Rescue, Ballina Shire Council and the Member for Page Kevin Hogan,’ Ms Smith said.

‘After years left on a lean, I refuse to see more volunteers at risk in that tower on my watch.

‘I put forward at this meeting that a staged construction process be implemented. I knew we simply couldn’t wait any longer, works had to start.

‘This week’s closure announcement has made that clearer than ever.’

Ms Smith said she had provided the Premier’s office with an official request to deliver the funds required to start construction on the new tower immediately.

Ms Smith has also hand delivered a request from Mayor David Wright, outlining the proposal as it stands.

‘The Ballina Community and our ocean users deserve this service, and our volunteers deserve a safe working environment to deliver it.’

 


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