500 jobs to be created as big Ballina project gets under way
Works have officially started in the new Airport Boulevard in Ballina.
The project started with the construction of the first roundabout on Southern Cross Drive, near the entrance to the airport.
The whole project includes the construction of Airport Boulevard, the extension of and connection to Boeing Ave, a connection to North Creek Road, construction of three roundabouts, bulk earthworks and fill, kerb and gutter works, landscaping and underground services.
With a final cost of almost $10 million, $3 million was provided by the Federal Government and $6.7 million came from Ballina Shire Council.
The road is expected to be finished in six months, weather permitting.
From this weekend, traffic detours will be in place at the airport, which may restrict the flow of traffic through the airport precinct, including drop-off zones and carparking areas.
The road will provide a brand new entrance for the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.
The second consequence is the expansion of the Southern Cross Industrial Estate.
Mayor David Wright said it would create at least 500 jobs.
"These won't be tourism-related jobs only, and it will be an ongoing thing because the quality of the businesses that we have interested in occupying this area, the interest in the land is so high, that it makes this a very exciting day," he said.
The road will create two new sections, one of 5ha and a second one of 6ha, both owned by the council, to sell to companies interested in operating from Ballina.
The company is already operating from Alstonville temporarily until the Ballina land is available.
Another high profile project is the INXS museum and technology hub, a passion project of the late South Ballina music entrepreneur Chris Murphy.
It is unclear if that project will go ahead after his passing last month.
Page MP Kevin Hogan said the area will generate new jobs for local residents.
"There will be a lot of land and a lot of space opened up to businesses," he said.
"Very exciting businesses are looking into moving here. For some of them it's important to be near the airport, and for others they are looking for the right place to move into the area."