Ballina marina plan gets go-ahead
But deputy commander Norm Lannoy says when Ballina finally gets a new marina, 'that inconvenience' will be no more than a bad memory.
The NSW Department of Lands has just called for registrations of interest to develop the Ballina trawler harbour and Regatta Avenue boat harbour sites - which could include a marina and commercial and residential development.
Mr Lannoy said the development was likely to include refuelling, grey water/sewage pump-out and boat mooring facilities, meaning locals and visitors to the riverside town would be able to refuel boats more safely and conveniently.
"At the moment the tourism side of things is a problem because there is no pump-out or fuelling facilities," Mr Lannoy said.
"Our boat takes 300 litres of fuel each side, and every time we need to refuel we have to cart that in a trailer.
"We have to use a special trailer, put up no smoking signs and have fire extinguishers ready - there are a whole lot of regulations we have to go by.
"We handle it, but it is an inconvenience ... new facilities would make it a lot easier and safer."
Mr Lannoy said the new facilities would also 'skyrocket' tourism in Ballina because more boating enthusiasts would be able to moor their craft at the marina and spend their money in the town.
However, he was concerned rent at the facility may be expensive and hoped the Lands Department would give the volunteer organisation a reduced rate.
"We would like to stay where we are, it's five minutes to the bar and we are in a good position to go up or down the river if we need to assist someone," Mr Lannoy said.
Possibilities for both harbours have been identified in the Ballina Foreshore Master Plan, which was endorsed by Ballina Shire Council and the Department of Lands after public exhibition earlier this year.
The master plan recommends a number of improvements in the precinct to support maritime, tourist and recreational opportunities along the Richmond River foreshore.
Minister for Lands Tony Kelly said the area had great potential.
"There is a substantial area of under-utilised space that will be explored for commercial development," he said.
Ballina mayor Phillip Silver said the council had wanted a new marina for some time.
"Council has in fact had a policy of encouraging a marina for more than six years, ever since the previous privately owned marina closed," Cr Silver said.
To view the registration of interest documentation go here.