Ballina plots a marina


WHERE do you want Ballina's new marina?

A public meeting on December 6 will be asking the community where it wants to go with the new boating proposal. A local management engineering company, GHD, will run the meeting as part of a commission to undertake the Lower Richmond River Recreational Boating Study.

The study, costing about $30,000 is funded by Ballina Shire council and the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources.

It will investigate recreational boating requirements of residents and tourists.

"We have a brilliant river and hope to open it up for residents and tourists to explore," said James Foster, GHD environmental engineer.

The difficulty, according to Mr Foster, is there are few potential locations in the Ballina township.

"We have about 11 possibilities," he said.

"But a marina would need to be close to facilities like supermarkets for the visiting boating public."

The meeting will also address the adequacy of current boat ramps and how much space should be designated for commercial and industrial adjuncts to the marina ? like boatbuilding and support retailers.

The study will evaluate environmental and social impacts, Mr Foster said.

Delicate seagrass colonies and other flora and fauna could be affected.

Dennis Magnay, president of WATER, a community group defendinging public access to Ballina's waterways, said the group had no objection to a marina, but is was worried public land will be sold by the council for residential development to pay for it.

David Kitson, strategic planner for the council, said it was important the site was in public ownership.

"We need to ensure other uses don't take over, like the old marina site which is now designated residential."

The meeting is at 7.30pm on December 6 in the RSL CLub.

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