Decades of drama securing Marine Rescue tower cash
FUNDING for a new Ballina Marine Rescue Tower has been a decades long drama that got the green light from council on Thursday now that $2.1 million is available for construction.
Page MP Kevin Hogan announced $850,000 for the completion of the new Ballina Marine Rescue Tower as part of $12.6 million in Federal funding pledged this month, enabling a long-held dream of the community to come to fruition.
The lean on the 1983-built tower was first noticed in the late 1990s, and Marine Rescue had been lobbying for a new tower since then.
Ballina Mayor David Wright was committed to getting a new tower built but didn't want the project to start until the entire $2.1 for construction was pledged.
Cr Wright said the new tower would boost tourism and the commercial fishing industry by providing a safe passage across the bar in conjunction with dredging.
In September 2015, Ballina Marine Rescue Commander John Donoghue did the last shift in the structure before it was closed permanently on the orders of Marine Rescue Commissioner Stacey Tannos, who said the tower was no longer safe to work in following several serious injuries to volunteers due to the building's ever-increasing lean.
Then in October, the project got tantalisingly closer when Ballina MP Tamara Smith announced $415,000 toward the tower - $215,000 from the NSW Government, and $200,000 in grant money.
Once the funding was secured the council processes began.
Ballina Shire Council staff recommended Woollam Constructions as the preferred tenderer.
At Thursday's meeting all councillors in attendance voted unanimously to accept the tender from Woollam Constructions so work can begin.