GRAND PLAN: Lester Gellatly, service manager with GHD Ballina, at Fishery Creek yesterday. The engineering consultancy firm wil
GRAND PLAN: Lester Gellatly, service manager with GHD Ballina, at Fishery Creek yesterday. The engineering consultancy firm wil

Firm to put $34 million marina plans to council

By DAWN COHEN

MEGA YACHTS and round-theworld sailors will be encouraged to dock at a 200-berth Ballina marina under a bold $34 million revamp of the port facilities.

Engineering consultancy firm GHD makes the recommendations as part of its Richmond River Recreational Boating Study report to be presented to Ballina Shire Council tomorrow.

Earlier this year the council commissioned the report to map out future usage of its waterways.

"We would like to encourage international vessels," said GHD environmental engineer James Foster, commenting on the report which has taken three months to compile.

"Sailors on round-the-world trips could dock in Trawler Harbour, head for the CBD and buy supplies."

The upgrade of Trawler Harbour and the RTA site at West Ballina for the 200-berth marina and boat ramp complex would begin construction within 10 years, costing ratepayers about $33.5 million.

Within five years, visitors will also be able to access a smaller marina at Martin Street boat harbour with river moorings, water, fuel, sullage pump out, showers, toilets and laundry facilities, according to the report.

The Martin Street facility would require a further $400,000.

Other short-term projects recommended by the report include a pontoon, toilets, parking and ramp upgrade for the Fishery Creek Canal.

Wardell and Emigrant Creeks would also get new toilets, parking facilities and ramp improvements.

South Ballina boaties could look forward to improved facilities as well. Ramp improvement costs total more than $2 million.

The long-term dream of an even larger scale marina for somewhere upstream from Ballina, costing over $100 million remains a possibility, Mr Fos- ter said.

"Extensive community consultation will still be needed," said Ballina's newly-appointed general manager John Christopherson.

"The speed with which plans are actualised will be driven by the community."

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