Mayor buoyant as support grows for boat harbour plans
BALLINA mayor David Wright aims to begin negotiations with the State Government over funding for the extension of the Martin St boat harbour before the end of the year or early 2017.
Cr Wright hopes the negotiations will start to entice private enterprise to get on board to assist with the revamp of the broader harbour.
The progress comes as Ballina Shire councillors at their last meeting voted in favour of the Martin St Boat Harbour Precinct Masterplan.
Cr Wright said the council's move to progress with the masterplan was the kick start the dated precinct needed.
Aside from extending the harbour out into the Richmond River, the proposed works to the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum was the key point of difference between the two development options proposed in the plan.
Option A recommended a new entry point to the museum, with two mixed-use buildings to be constructed around the existing structure.
Option B proposed the museum be relocated and developed into a multi-level facility within a larger, mixed-use building.
Red Belly Landscape Architecture and Urban Design principal Garry Murray was one of three local consultants tasked to develop the masterplan.
Mr Murray described Option B as a "left-of-field" idea that "opened up a lot of amazing opportunities rather than just upgrade".
"It will set the facility apart from others," he said. "It will really make for a much more significant regional facility that will do the image of Ballina a lot of good."
Museum manager Ron Creber said he was opposed to Option B, citing difficulties in moving artefacts.
"It would just be impossible for us to move. We have three displays that we could not possibly move without damaging them," Mr Creber said.
Council has yet to decide which option it will choose.
The Martin St harbour progress coincides with planned improvements set to start early next year to boating facilities along the Richmond River from Lennox Head to Wardell, according to Cr Wright.
The $1.77 million works will be jointly funded by council and the State Government under its NSW Boating Now Program.