Recent upgrade works at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.
Recent upgrade works at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.

$55 million needed for Ballina's two biggest projects

TWO major projects worth a total of $55 million will be put forward as priorities on Ballina Shire Council's "wish list" for funding.

At the council's meeting tomorrow (Thursday), councillors will vote on the projects they want to apply for funding for through the Building Better Regions Fund.

The two options recommended by staff include a $20 million improvement to infrastructure at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport and a $35 million road upgrade.

According to the report, the airside upgrades would include an expansion of the parking apron by 45 per cent (northern end), strengthening of the runway by a further 200mm of asphalt, widening of the runway from 30m to 45m, and construction of a Runway End Safety Area on the eastern end of the runway.

"Airline carriers serving the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport have advised they will be upgrading their fleet of aircraft from 2020," the report states.

"This will significantly impact the airside infrastructure and the estimated cost is $20 million.

"The rationale for this as a priority project is due to the strength of it aligning against the merit criteria (in applying for grants through the Building Better Regions Fund).

"There is also a demonstrated need for the project, and airport staff expects the airline carriers can provide letters of support for this project.

"The new fleet will be implemented by 2020, so it is an important project to ensure the continued growth of the airport.

"The new airline fleet means that there is additional passengers for both Airbus (23 per cent additional passengers) and Boeing (18 per cent additional passengers) aircraft."

The second project being put forward on the council's wish list is the duplication of the entry roads into Ballina, River St and Tamarind Dr.

This is expected to cost about $35 million.

Staff have reported the duplication of the north and west approaches to Ballina is "required in the short term according to traffic volumes".

"Similar to the airport project, the roads project will make a good economic case through the sheer number of user benefits and time savings applied," the report states.

"It is an important project for the entire community of the Ballina Shire."

Other projects that could be considered for funding applications included:

  • Captain Cook Park masterplan: $2.65 million
  • Ballina town centre upgrades (Moon St to Grant St): $2.5 million
  • Lennox Head town centre village renewal: $6.5 million
  • SES building
  • Ballina marina masterplan
  • Martin Street boat harbour
  • North Creek dredging: $729,000
  • Lennox Head surf club: $7.9 million
  • Lennox Head Rural Fire Service shed
  • Ballina ocean pool
  • Section 94 roads plan
  • Lennox Head foreshore masterplan
  • Alstonville Leisure and Entertainment Centre upgrades.

Ballina Shire councillors will vote on the matter on Thursday.