LONG WALK: Ballina RSL Club general manager Bill Coulter (left) and club chairman Gary Hooley inspect the start of work on the waterfront boardwalk that will eventually join up with a council-built footpath.
LONG WALK: Ballina RSL Club general manager Bill Coulter (left) and club chairman Gary Hooley inspect the start of work on the waterfront boardwalk that will eventually join up with a council-built footpath. Doug Eaton

Boardwalk takes first steps

CONSTRUCTION has started on the long-awaited waterfront boa- rdwalk at the Ballina RSL Club.

The 75-metre long, three-metre wide timber pathway is expected to cost the club about $620,000.

It should be finished before Christmas.

Club general manager Bill Coulter said building the boardwalk was part of the club's licensing requirements.

“We have to provide full community access to the waterfront,” he said.

“It has taken about three years of planning - the approvals have taken quite a while.”

Workers will drive four pylons a day into the water, with a total of 56 pylons needed for the project.

Some of the pylons are up to 15 metres long, Mr Coulter said.

“Council will complete its footpath once we've finished that end of the boardwalk, so it can be lined up properly,” he said.

RSL Club chairman Gary Hooley said the finished product would be an asset for the club.

“It's a great view and one that we want to share with the community,” he said.

“This is something that the club is paying for, but it is going to benefit everyone in the region, tourists as well.”

Water Access to Encourage Recreation (WATER) president Denis Magnay said his group had been pushing for the boardwalk for many years.

“It has been years since we started the campaign to get it,” he said.

“In 2002 we circulated a petition for public waterfront access around the RSL Club and we got more than 600 signatures.

“But we had started having meetings with the RSL Club even before that.”

Although Mr Magnay said the RSL Club had been 'stalling' on the project, he said WATER was looking forward to seeing the finished boardwalk.

“We are going to be really pleased when it's done,” he said.

“But all the moves to have public access along the waterfront there have been pushed along by our group.”

In October 2005, the riverside public walkway was identified as one of the RSL Club's top priorities.

Ballina Shire Council gave the club approval to build the boardwalk in May 2007.



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