Ballina lifesaver seeks govt. funding
BALLINA surf lifesaving boss Ron Shepherd has called for the State Government to help fund weekday lifeguards after the drowning of 18-year-old Matthew Hicks.
"If there was funding the State Government should make it a priority to subsidise our council to pay lifeguards in the times when volunteers are not available," said Mr Shepherd, president of the Ballina Lismore and Lighthouse Surf Life Saving Club.
Margaret Hicks, mother of the drowned Goonellabah man, supports the call for extended lifesaving.
Her son died on Tuesday, just 20 metres from the shore in a section of surf usually protected by flags.
The council generally funds lifeguards at Shelly Beach only for the Christmas and 'Easter holidays, and surf lifesaver volunteers are on duty on weekends, not weekdays.
However, Stuart McPherson, general manager of Ballina Shire Council, does not believe there are enough people swimming on Shelly Beach at this time of year to warrant the expense of weekday lifeguards.
"The service we provide is adequate to the need," he said yesterday.
To volunteer for a surf lifesaver doorknock appeal in Lismore on October 16, call 6686 4163.
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