Ballina councillors back $90m development


A PROPOSED $90 million residential and commercial development will reinvigorate Ballina's riverfront district, local councillors say.

Almost all the councillors yesterday were positive about the project but refused to give unconditional approval before seeing the details of the project.

A development application is expected to be lodged before November 30.

Ballina real estate agent Ian Mills yesterday said that Gold Coast development company Samtay had spent $8.5 million buying a 5997-square-metre site on the riverfront next to the Ballina RSL Club for the proposed development.

The proposed complex would have five or six storeys with a ground level retail development and 80 residential units and public access to the waterfront.

Councillors Peter Moore, John Felsch, Alan Brown, Sharon Cadwallader, Keith Johnson, David Wright and Margaret Howes all said the proposal would be good for Ballina.

Cr Peter Moore said he was in support of any progress on the waterfront.

"I like the principles of the project," he said.

"The combination of residential and commercial will bring the riverfront back into focus. For too many years the river has been the backyard of Ballina, when it should be the focus."

Cr David Wright said the project, together with the RSL's development proposal, showed that the council's work in River Street had been effective.

"It means the area is going to take off," he said.

Cr Margaret Howes said the area looked 'pretty daggy' at the moment.

"It's obviously going to improve the waterfront," she said.

Most of the councillors' support was dependent on the developers giving the public as much access to the riverfront as possible.

Mayor Phil Silver reserved his judgement on the project and Cr Alan Rich said he was concerned about the complex becoming 'another brick in the wall' cutting off the residents of Ballina from the river.

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