Ballina coast guard volunteers Bill and Jo Blundell and skipper Duncan Woodhead, in the coast guard’s rescue boat, last week launched the Ballina Boat and Leisure Show to be held in October.
Ballina coast guard volunteers Bill and Jo Blundell and skipper Duncan Woodhead, in the coast guard’s rescue boat, last week launched the Ballina Boat and Leisure Show to be held in October.

Ballina to launch boat show

AN EVENT was launched last week that has pulled together community groups in Ballina around a marine theme, just as Rivafest used to, and is expected to bring people into Ballina.

The Ballina flotilla of the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard will hold its inaugural Ballina Boat and Leisure Show at the Kingsford Smith Park rugby league ground on October 9 and 10, and follows the news earlier this year the Ballina Shire Council had pulled the plug on Rivafest.

An organiser, Bill Blundell, said there already had been interest in the event from outside Ballina, with a fishing competition to be held on the weekend expected to bring in a couple of hundred people.

Other community groups which in the past have been involved in Rivafest have been quick to come on board, with the Rotary Club of Ballina to hold its annual duck race on the weekend, the Ballina surf club is organising a Ballina Island Paddle Challenge, and Australian Seabird Rescue will have a display.

Another of the organisers, Jo Blundell, said the idea for a boat show in Ballina came about as the coast guard wanted to provide something that would benefit the community, but that could be also used as a fundraiser for the appeal to build a new tower on North Wall.

She said the coast guard had in past years run a raffle, with the major prize being a boat.

“Three people (prize winners) got to benefit from a raffle, but so many people have been supporting us,” she said. “This way a lot more in the community can benefit.”

Ms Blundell said local businesses had already been supportive of the event, and 12 had expressed interest in having stalls.

They said a boat show hadn’t been held in Ballina since the 1980s.

While boats will be the feature of the show there also will be exhibits of surfboards, surf skis, Hobie cats, kayaks and fishing gear.

There also will be talks onmarine radio techniques, bar crossing tips, survival at sea and the latest in navigation equipment.

The preliminary designs for a proposed new tower have been completed, and the Ballina Shire Council has committed $1.7 million to the project expected to cost about $2 million.



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