Clear sailing for MR boat show
MARINE Rescue Ballina's major annual fundraiser came close to being cancelled this year after council allocated half of its events budget to a music festival before applications for funding opened.
From a budget of $50,000, the council last year agreed to give $25,000 to the Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival, to enable organisers to promote their weekend at the Tamworth festival.
But applications for funding for festivals and events had not even opened yet.
The decision also meant that just $25,000 was left for the remaining seven events.
Only $5000 had been allocated to Marine Rescue's Boat and Leisure Show, which is the volunteer organisation's major fundraiser of the year.
This year will be the third show, and all money raised goes towards the much-needed new tower.
Duncan Woodhead from Marine Rescue Ballina's boat show committee spoke at the last council meeting, telling councillors that the $5000 donation might not be enough to make the show "bigger and better".
"We believe the boat show can become a significant event," Mr Woodhead said.
"The funds raised help us operate a 24-hour, 365-day service to the community.
"The current allocation ($5000) raises questions as to whether our event would be viable to run; whether we would be able to make any money."
However councillors, after hearing Mr Woodhead's plea, agreed to increase the allocation to $7000.
Cr Sharon Cadwallder moved a motion to give the group an additional $2000 for the event.
"Mr Woodhead's deputation really did bring it home about the $25,000 we allocated to the Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival," she said.
"Was it fair? Probably not.
"The boat show is a good event and I would hate to see it not con- tinue."
Mayor Phillip Silver agreed: "This (the boat show) is almost the theme of Ballina, with Marine Rescue and the river."
The vote to increase the funding was unanimous.
After serious discussions at the latest boat show committee meeting, Mr Woodhead said it was decided to press ahead with the event.
He said the organisation was committed to making it a success and raising as much money as possible for the new tower.
Marine Rescue Ballina is now searching for major sponsors for the show.
To get involved and help out a valuable community group, email firstname.lastname@example.org.