Taskforce will tackle bar
TONY PUGLISI knows the devastating impact the dangerous Richmond River bar is having on local professional fishermen.
He has lived in Ballina for more than 40 years and his family has a long history on trawlers.
He is also the chairman of the Ballina Fishermen's Co-operative.
Yesterday Mr Puglisi told Ballina Shire councillors that the dredging of the bar was becoming more and more important.
"I am here to ask the council to put together a taskforce," he said.
"I could stand here for hours and talk about all of the problems we are having.
"This is a very, very important issue.
"It's a total necessity. Something has got to be done about the bar."
Mr Puglisi said many trawlers now worked from Tweed because working from Ballina was too difficult.
"We have boats that work from Tweed and they can do 190 nights a year.
"You compare that to Ballina where they might get out 60 nights.
"It's a big difference.
"My son (Mark Puglisi) is the captain of the Ballina Jet Boat Rescue Service.
"Rescues on the bar are doubling all the time."
Mr Puglisi said it was time to start "annoying the daylights" out of the State Government.
Mayor Phillip Silver agreed, and put forward a successful mayoral minute calling for the establishment of a taskforce.
It is expected to be set up within the next week or so.
"We have long, ongoing issues with the river," he said.
Councillor Alan Brown said the issue of dredging had to be resolved if Ballina was to get anywhere with future plans for a marina.
"We certainly have a case to take to ministers and to put pressure on politicians," he said.
"We would have a much more pleasant river (if it was dredged)."
The taskforce will include members of the council, the Chamber of Commerce and the Ballina Fishermen's Co-operative and it will push for dredging of the Richmond River bar, North Creek and the trawler harbour.
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