Ballina trawler harbour suggested as site for 100-berth marina.
Ballina trawler harbour suggested as site for 100-berth marina.

Marina acts as drawcard for industry

By JAMIE BROWN staredit@northernstar.com.au

BUILD a marina at Ballina and industry will follow, says Tweed River houseboat entre- preneur Robert Berger. As owner of the Tweed's largest houseboat company, Mr Berger has found that the 25- berth marina in the Tweed River's southern boat harbour has helped galvanise a $34 mil- lion industry, supporting 180 full-time jobs. The council funded the mari- na, completed 18 months ago, and rent is currently paying off the loan, with fishing char- ters, river cruises and house- boats reaping the benefits of being located in a central facility. "If there are no facilities for people on the water, the word gets out very quickly and no one comes to visit," he says. The benefits of building a marina have come into focus after marina director Peter Sutton announced his intention to pursue a 100-berth develop- ment at Ballina, with his eyes set on the trawler harbour. Mr Sutton, one of two direc- tors of the Yamba Marina ? and the husband of legendary around-the-world sailor Kay Cottee ? said any marina built at Ballina would involve 'sub- stantially more' than $2 million and would, of course, only happen if his company won a tender process. Currently, the Ballina trawler harbour is leased by the Bal- lina Fishermen's Co-op and there are no plans to put that lease up for public tender. Ballina Chamber of Com- merce secretary Bryan Mar- riott said the chamber had been waiting for the private sector to push the NSW Department of Lands to focus on the Richmond River. "We need to make this de- velopment happen as quickly as possible," he said. "If we can create a marina, related industry will multiply around it very quickly." Meanwhile, it appears the Department of Lands is keen to work with the private sec- tor in developing certain Crown land parcels. According to the depart- ment's website, parcels of Crown land at Tweed Heads, Kingscliff and Coffs Harbour



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