Taskforce to consider $56m Ballina marina concept masterplan

The existing Ballina boat harbour.
The existing Ballina boat harbour. Doug Eaton Below

A CONCEPT masterplan for a $56 million marina in the Kingsford Smith Park precinct at Ballina will be considered by the Port Ballina Taskforce.

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

The development could provide 315 permanent jobs.

According to figures in the masterplan - which has been drawn up by Peter Marshall and John Kelly from David Wilson Landscape Architects - the marina could also provide Ballina Shire Council with almost $2 million in rates each year.

While the civil works are estimated to cost more than $56 million, the project has the potential to provide a developer with a surplus of $98 million, if all units, blocks of land and marina berths can be sold.

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

The proposal is proving controversial with residents writing to The Northern Star opposing the plan.

See the letters here

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

A report to the taskforce states: "Despite the magnitude of the proposal Mr Marshall and Mr Kelly (from DWLA) believe the project is viable, albeit that council may well have to be the entity that commences investigations into the works."

A marina for Ballina has been a priority for the council and the Chamber of Commerce for a number of years.

Mayor David Wright said the current masterplan was a "big dream" but that it could work.

"The site is Crown Land and we haven't consulted at all yet on this plan," he said.

"The architects are saying this is the best site for a marina.

"But there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of consultation to be done.

"However it might work out, if people are on board with it."

Ballina Chamber of Commerce president Peter Carmont said the chamber would "love to see this happen".

But Mr Carmont admitted that the concept masterplan would only become a reality if a developer came on board to fund it.

"I see this masterplan as a 20-year project, probably longer," he said.

Should Ballina have a marina?

This poll ended on 14 August 2014.

Yes - 47%

No - 23%

Yes, but it should be smaller than the one proposed - 23%

Yes, but the one proposed is not big enough - 5%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Marina plan is bad

THE Ballina Marina Masterplan decimates the public open space and waterfront access for Ballina and is a step back for the town. The contents of the Masterplan are predictable with the usual commercial elements featured.

In December 1976, Ballina Council acquired the Fawcett Street 'old wharf site' for $110,000 and later upgraded the area with the establishment of public waterfront access which linked to other footpaths which were being opened as land developed along the riverfront. Public access is continuous right along the shire ocean frontage and into the Richmond River through to the Ballina RSL Club. This long-term goal of the council to develop public access to the waterfront is to be commended.

The Marina Masterplan not only changes this concept of public access but also proposes multi-level residential and commercial development directly opposite existing single-residential areas and tampers with the natural hydrology of a very sensitive area. I can foresee huge amounts to rescue beachfront lots from cyclonic damage. Do the financial considerations for the development, including the cost of dredging the river mouth in perpetuity, or is this handed to the council as well?

Further investigation of upstream sites is warranted as part of the process to improve the marina facilities at Ballina.

Any change to zoning of the Kingsford Smith Park land parcel requires extensive public consultation and this may well be the saviour of this wonderful public space.

Gary Faulks,



It's Ballina, not the Gold Coast

WE are not the Gold Coast, nor do we want to become the Gold Coast. Many people come to Ballina to escape the Gold Coast and Brisbane high rises, and the hustle and bustle of those places. They come to spend time on our beautiful beaches.

The Spit is one beach where thousands of locals and visitors spend many hours, as do the sailors from the yacht club. It's a safe beach with easy access and close to town. It would be a tragedy should this development go ahead.

There may be jobs created, but the council lost over 100 jobs by insisting that Masters build on council land near the Harvey Norman centre. The only people who will be happy with this high-rise development are the developers. Another 'white elephant'.

Ballina already has two small marinas. Why not develop one of those?

Why take our heritage away? More retail? Shops are closing all over Ballina at the moment. Has the council not observed other towns that are thriving and what appeals to tourists? I don't think they have. I don't think they care.

Carol and Paul Da-Re,


Marina proposal appalling

I was appalled to see the proposed redevelopment for the marina.

The current park and walkways offer beautiful views and beach access for families, community groups and visitors.

To remove these features for large hotels, expensive townhouses and boats is criminal.

Is this just so Ballina council can lay its hands on more rates?

Has nobody learn from the hideous mistakes of the Gold Coast and some parts of the Sunshine Coast?

If the council wants a new marina why don't they plonk it on the river side of town where the views have already been ruined by developments.

Sue Broadbent,


You must be joking

I had to check if Saturday's date was April 1 when I saw the proposed 56m marina plan on the front page.

In an area of nimbys, greenies, hippies and general whingers against progress, and you can throw in protesters, the chances of this project getting approval is zero.

Also, I forgot to mention when I was driving past the proposed site last week I saw 23 Tasmanian Tigers on the site, so that should put the proposed marina off the agenda and give the forementioned groups less to worry about.


Evans Head.

Topics:  ballina ballina shire council

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