Dredging will improve access for Ballina anglers
THE long awaited dredging of Fishery Creek and the trawler harbour in Ballina is set to commence this week.
The river deepening exercise will allow more boats to access the boat ramp under the River Street bridge, as well as make the trawler harbour accessible to more boats.
Pumping and pipe equipment was moved into the area last week.
The river works are more than overdue Ballina Fishermen’s Co-op chief executive Phil Hilliard said.
“For the last seven years I have been asking for this at every opportunity,” he said.
Currently a half dozen berths in the boat harbour can’t be accessed due to silt build up.
“There just isn’t enough depth to get the boats into the spaces at low tide,” he said.
This has been a drain on the co-op’s finances because they have to pay rent for the crown land they use, but can’t lease out all the trawler harbour spaces in return because of the silting, he said.
The dredging will also make the access from the boat ramp to the main river deeper, benefiting the wider community by increasing access for all users, and bigger fishing boats in particular, he said.
“I lot of the fishing clubs in the area are looking forward to the dredging,” he said.
But Mr Hilliard admits not all anglers are happy about the project.
“Interests need to be balanced,” he said.
Some anglers are ready to catch mullet and are worried the dredging will create a sound disturbance and force the fish away, he said.
The operation is slated to take three months but could well be completed sooner than that he said.