Bridge won't help in emergencies

A BRIDGE connecting South Ballina to the rest of the town would not help in times of an emergency, residents have said.

Following this week’s tragic drowning of tourists Joseph and Carole Sherry at South Ballina Beach, there have been renewed calls for a bridge to replace the ferry at Burns Point.

The theory is a bridge would give paramedics and firefighters quicker access to the area.

But many locals believe the current system – in which emergency services call ahead and ask the ferry skipper to stand by – works well enough.

Lew Cannon has lived at South Ballina for 16 years.

He said only a major development would justify the enormous cost of building a bridge.

“But then I’d pack up and leave,” he said.

“I reckon the cost of a bridge would possibly murder any development proposal anyway.

“And we don’t have that many emergency situations over here – not enough to warrant a bridge being built.

“If there is an emergency, the paramedics ring the ferry and the ferry stands by. It won’t move. The ferry’s manned all night for that purpose.”

Another local resident, Lorraine Leuckel, said a bridge would spoil the ‘peace and quiet’.

“I don’t want my place to be worth millions. I just want to be left alone. It’s a paradise at the moment,” she said.

Ms Leuckel said the issue of making the area more accessible for emergency services was not a major concern for South Ballina residents.

“We can contact whoever is sleeping on the ferry overnight,” she said.

It is understood that developers have made preliminary inquiries over the years about building a bridge and opening up South Ballina for development – none of which have gone any further.

The council’s regulatory services manager, Rod Willis, said there were many constraints in the region.

“Geographically it’s a very attractive location and people do turn their minds to it (development) from time to time,” he said.

“It may become economically viable at some point.”

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