A huge congratulations to our local State MP Tamara Smith for helping to facilitate extra state government contributions for our long awaited replacement Marine Rescue Tower.
Ms Smith has committed the majority of her allocated community grants funding to this project ($200,000).
It has been an ongoing saga/stand-off that our wonderful marine rescue volunteers have unfortunately bared the brunt of.
As many in our community are aware the current tower has been unable to be occupied for a number of months due to the safety of its staff. The building has been gradually falling over for a number of years and now represents a safety hazard.
While it’s easy for the community to be critical of Ballina Council’s handling of this issue and not committing additional funding to have the new building works commenced earlier, as a councillor, it is hard not feel let down by our state and federal government counterparts, particularly as for a number of years our local MP’s were part of those governments.
The simple facts are the building (and the proposed alternative building) is located on Crown Land (state government) and the service is funded through the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (and by community donations).
Despite this, Ballina Council (ratepayers) have contributed more than 50 per cent of the cost of its replacement (over $1 million) and completed the design and approvals process for the new building.
Not withstanding this, our community expects the various levels of government to work together in a timely way to prevent the current situation from occurring.
It’s disappointing (to say the least) that this hasn’t been able to be achieved for such a vital community service that’s predominately run by a number of very committed volunteers who are now undertaking their work without a building.
Now that tenders are finally being called for, let’s hope that the new building can be constructed as soon as possible.
Cr Jeff Johnson, Lennox Head