$13m of loans pave way for boom
THE population of the Ballina region will boom over the next 20 years now the council has access to almost $13 million in much-needed infrastructure funding.
The interest-free loans were announced by NSW Premier Kristina Keneally this week.
Ballina Shire Council rec-eived $2.3 million for a pumping station and a sewer trunk main at Wollongbar; $2.8 million for the Wollongbar Link Road; and $7.5 million for the delivery of recycled water to new residential subdivisions in Ballina and Lennox Head.
In the past, the lack of funding for these projects had put new residential developments on hold, Ballina mayor Phillip Silver said.
“This is an excellent outcome for our community and highlights the efforts that councillors and staff are making to ensure the delivery of high-quality infrastructure at minimal cost to the community,” he said.
It paves the way for work to start on the planned urban expansion of Wollongbar and, as a result, the population of the village is expected to double over the next 25 years.
Funding to provide dual water reticulation for new subdivisions in Ballina and Lennox Head will also boost the population of those areas.
The Ballina Heights/Cumbalum region has been identified as having strong potential for urban development, and land to the north of the existing Ballina Heights Estate is currently being investigated for rezoning.
By 2035, this area could have up to 11,000 residents.
The population of the Ballina Shire currently stands at about 40,000, but in 25 to 30 years that figure could be closer to 55,000 people.
The council’s general manager, Paul Hickey, said the State Government’s loans would help to fast-track developments.
“We have 10 years to pay these loans back, so a lot of it will be reimbursed by developer contributions,” he said. “But what it does is minimise the risk for the council.”
Regulatory services group manager, Rod Willis, said several property owners had been pushing for council to provide infrastructure so they could start work on their developments.
“This money is going to allow us to put in the infrastructure and not dig in to our own pockets,” he said.
Mr Willis said conceptual designs for the sewerage works had been done.
The council is now looking at full technical designs and tenders then will be called.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO SUPPORT BALLINA’S GROWING POPULATION?
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