An artist's impression of the proposed new Marine Rescue tower at North Wall, Ballina. Image courtesy of architect Dominic Finlay-Jones.  Photo Contributed
An artist's impression of the proposed new Marine Rescue tower at North Wall, Ballina. Image courtesy of architect Dominic Finlay-Jones. Photo Contributed Contributed

Extra tower funding could help sports field come to fruition

EXTRA funding for the new Marine Rescue tower at Ballina could enable the council to redirect money to finish the long-awaited Wollongbar sports field project.

Plans to build tennis courts and a clubhouse at Wollongbar had been put on hold due to budget shortfalls.

But with the Federal Government announcing another $850,000 for the Marine Rescue search and coordination centre, through the National Stronger Regions Fund, the council is now considering reducing its investment to enable the sport fields to be finished.

Councillors are expected to vote on the transfer of surplus funds at this week's meeting, and they will also award the tender for the construction of the $2.2 million Marine Rescue tower.

Ballina Shire Council staff have recommended Woollam Constructions as the preferred tenderer.

With the addition of the Federal Government's $850,000, there is now a surplus of $625,000.

"With Council currently contributing the largest amount for the construction of this facility, which provides a State Government service, it is reasonable, from Council's perspective, to reduce our contribution accordingly (i.e. from $1,025,000 to $400,000, a saving of $625,000)," the council staff report states.

"This remains a more than reasonable contribution to the overall cost of the project.

"If Council did achieve this saving, the recommendation for the expenditure of the funds saved would be to transfer the $625,000 to the finalisation of the Wollongbar Sports Fields project.

"Council has previously had to defer the construction of the new tennis courts, tennis clubhouse and fencing for that project due to budget shortfalls.

"In recent discussions with the Federal and State Governments in respect to the Building Better Regional Cities (BBRC) Program, the verbal indications are that they will be seeking Council to increase the BBRC rebates if the full suite of works originally envisaged is not completed."



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