Ballina marina - right idea, wrong location

The concept masterplan being considered for a proposed Ballina marina.
The concept masterplan being considered for a proposed Ballina marina.

A FORMER Ballina marina operator and boat retailer has spoken out against the $56 million Ballina marina masterplan, pegged for the Kingsford Smith Park precinct.

Long-time Ballina resident John Bath said he was shocked to see what had been proposed.

"I think a marina is necessary for Ballina but the location's pretty hopeless," he said.

Mr Bath said his biggest concerns with the design were that it would be built on unstable river sand too close to the Ballina bar, and would collect flood debris coming down the river.

"Ballina Quays Marina, originally off Burns Point Ferry Rd, was similarly unsuccessful when river debris swept through and clogged pontoons and almost sent the lot, with boats attached, out to sea," he said.

"Tides that rise over two metres, combined with cyclonic surge and river flooding, will cut through proposed infrastructure uninhibited."

The proposed marina includes a resort hotel, 173 waterfront residential allotments, 250 apartments, 75 condos and more than 300 commercial and private marina berths.

Mr Bath said a wide range of existing infrastructure, paid for by ratepayers and heavily utilised by locals and tourists, would be put to waste if the masterplan went ahead.

This would include the skate park, caravan park, bicycle and footpaths, dog beach and views.

He said the sailing club would also lose its views, skydivers would have nowhere to land and the value of surrounding real estate would be affected.

Mr Bath said a suitable alternative location for the marina would be off the canal in West Ballina near where the RMS is located.

He said that site was underutilised and would provide a safe entrance for boats.

"Considering our potential boating population it would be both a safe and secure place for storage and to go boating," Mr Bath said.

The Port Ballina Taskforce will consider the marina masterplan proposal at its meeting today.

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