News

Ballina airport lease plan may be on the table

SURPRISE: An offer has been made for Lismore Airport and there are moves in the wind at Ballina.
SURPRISE: An offer has been made for Lismore Airport and there are moves in the wind at Ballina. Marc Stapelberg

BALLINA Council is considering putting the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport up for long-term lease to help ease the financial pressure of investing in new infrastructure.

The matter is up for discussion at next Tuesday's commercial services committee meeting.

It comes in the same week the Lismore City Council has revealed it is considering putting the Lismore Airport up for sale or long-term lease, following an unexpected offer from a WA freight company.

The suggestions to put the Ballina airport up for lease comes off the back of four years of solid passenger growth.

Passenger numbers soared from 271,615 in 2009/10 to about 400,000 in 2013/14. Gross turnover also increased from about $2.4m to $4.7m in the same period.

Although the growth may seem positive, a report attached to the recommendation says Ballina Council is struggling to raise and manage the debt to cater for the capital investment needed for such growth.

However, the report was against the sale of the airport saying it "would result in council losing control immediately for a one-off payment" and it "would not be in the public interest in terms of maintaining air services and assisting in the growth of the regional economy."

Ballina Council commercial services manager Paul Tsikleas said the idea of granting a lease would allow council to maintain control of the airport.

"You still maintain control because you can write into the lease document the performance criteria of what they've got to do," he said. "And if they don't adhere to it, well, we break the lease.

"That's why we're not interested in a sale, because you just lose all control."

Mr Tsikleas said putting the airport up for lease wouldn't result in fewer flights. If anything, the number of flights would increase as the lease holder could invest in new infrastructure.

"The more flights you get, the bigger the terminal you need, you need to have better apron facilities so you can cue planes up… and more car parking," he said.

The recommendation in Tuesday's agenda is for council to run a competitive tendering process to select a consultant to advise council on the various long term tenure options available and potential financial returns.

Mr Tsikleas said council may still decide to continue operating the airport after considering the alternatives.



43 animals netted in North Coast shark net trial

A number of at-risk animals were killed during the first 30 days of the shark net trials.

Five sharks, one turtle and one dolphin died in the first 30 days

LAND VALUES: Figures reveal how much your property is worth

Land values in Ballina have increased over the past 12 months.

Property in one Northern Rivers town has increased by almost 14%

Funnel webs in 'plague proportions' due to hot weather

A funnel web spider found in Tom Storey's pool at Wollongbar.

There's nothing worse than finding a deadly spider in your pool

Local Partners

Highway traffic changes that you need to know about

SPEED limits are being reduced and there are some delays expected as part of upgrade works on the Pacific Highway.


Northern Rivers murder mystery takes out award at Flickerfest

MURDER MYSTERY: Northern Rivers young actress Yasmin Honeychurch in a still from the award-wiining film In a Canefield by Emily Avila and Coralie Tapper.

Finding'little star' brought film shoot to the region.

Join the challenge to Live Life Large this Friday

Deborah and Neil Marks have been inspired by Jodie's Inspiration to Live Life Large.

Business owner's invitation to join her on Jodie's Inspiration hike

Things to do with your kids these school holidays

Founder of byron4kids, Michelle Ruthven, with her children.

One mother made it her task to help families discover what's on

New doco argues ‘OJ Simpson is innocent, and I can prove it’

O.J. Simpson

NEW documentary series claims to have found “missing evidence".

REVIEW: Undressed is more than titilating entertainment

Nathan and Tahlia meet for the first time on the TV series Undressed.

'DIVERSE' dating show goes more than skin deep.

Northern Rivers murder mystery takes out award at Flickerfest

MURDER MYSTERY: Northern Rivers young actress Yasmin Honeychurch in a still from the award-wiining film In a Canefield by Emily Avila and Coralie Tapper.

Finding'little star' brought film shoot to the region.

Will there be a Game of Thrones spin-off?

Emilia Clarke and Peter Dinklage in a scene from season six episode 10 of Game of Thrones.

HBO’S original programming president has teased fans.

Ed Sheeran's intimate gigs down under

Singer Ed Sheeran

CHART-topper playing invite-only shows in Australia next month.

Eddie McGuire's scandal-free focus and new-look Hot Seat

Eddie McGuire hosts the new Millionaire Hot Seat Super Game.

HOST wants out of the hot seat himself to focus on game show revamp.

LAND VALUES: Figures reveal how much your property is worth

Land values in Ballina have increased over the past 12 months.

Property in one Northern Rivers town has increased by almost 14%

6 new estates to build a home on the Northern Rivers

Land estates are available now on the Northern Rivers with some stages opening up soon.

Looking for a place to put down roots and raise a family?

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!