River Street Ballina is benefitting from upgrades to Wigmore Arcade, but an unlikely start on further work is upsetting businesses.
River Street Ballina is benefitting from upgrades to Wigmore Arcade, but an unlikely start on further work is upsetting businesses.

Work on Ballina main street hits a dead end

BALLINA business owners are frustrated plans to complete an upgrade of the town’s main River Street thoroughfare have been put on the backburner by Ballina Shire Council.

An upgrade of the centre section of the street, including the Riverwalk Arcade and a section of parkland along the Richmond River from Fawcett Wharf to Martin Street, was completed in 2003.

However, the northern and southern ends of River Street have yet to get the council’s  planned facelift.
Ballina Mayor Phil Silver said the $5 million allocated to the project was spent on the first stages of the upgrade.

He said previous councillors from 2004 to 2008 voted to divert further funds raised for the project to main street redevelopments in Lennox Head, Alstonville and Wardell.

“The then councillors decided there was a need to spread that benefit around the shire rather than go into the next stages of redeveloping River Street,” he said.

Cr Silver said claims the upgrade of River Street’s centre was completed because the council owned and leased the Wigmore Arcade were not true.

“Ballina’s business community pushed for the upgrade,” he said.

Ballina Chamber of Commerce chairman Glen Costello said it was vital the council looked closely at ways to finish the River Street upgrade.

“There are more empty shops at the two ends of the main street because the roads are bad and there are no trees for shade,” Mr Costello said.

“Before business owners take up tenancy they need proper footpaths and roads so people want to go into the shop.

“But that won’t happen with the way it looks at the moment.”


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