Sun sets on more than 40 years with Sundowner Motel
FOR more than 40 years, Ballina woman Ann Brown has worked at the Sundowner Motel on the corner of River and Kerr Sts.
She has spent those years meeting new people, making friends with regular holiday-makers and also providing much-needed crisis accommodation for homeless people.
But that's all about to change.
On January 17 the waterfront motel will be demolished to make way for the $31 million residential and commercial development, Reside Living.
Mrs Brown said it would be a sad day, but acknowledged the new building was a good thing for Ballina.
"I started here at the Sundowner Motel when I was 16 ... I left for a while, but then came back," she said.
"Yes, I am very sad that it's going to be knocked down.
"But it's also exciting and I do understand why this has to happen - Ballina is growing.
"It needs to be knocked down because this end of town needs something to brighten it up.
"And I just love the plans for Reside Living. It's going to be a beautiful building."
The development is a six-storey building with 34 apartments and commercial/retail space on the ground level.
Construction is expected to start mid-2016.
Mrs Brown said she would be there for all the milestones of the project, including the demolition and the start of building works.
And she'll take her mother with her - she worked as a cleaner at the motel when it first opened in the 1950s and stayed there for 10 years.
"I am going to retire once this place closes down ... I want to do some volunteer work with needy people or older people," Mrs Brown said.
"I've also got seven grandchildren, so I'll spend time with them."
The Sundowner Motel was one of Ballina's first motels, built by Norm Newton.
Mrs Brown said when she started work at the motel, she remembered River St being "practically part of the river ... it was swampy".
"There was a netted-off swimming pool in the river and a T-shaped jetty," she said.
Reside Living will have a communal vegetable garden, swimming pool, storage areas and shared parking for caravans. A public boardwalk will be built along the site's river frontage.
For more information visit http://www.resideliving.com.au