TIME FOR CHANGE: A master plan is being developed for the trawler harbour site at West Ballina.
TIME FOR CHANGE: A master plan is being developed for the trawler harbour site at West Ballina. Graham Broadhead

Ballina pushes ahead with plans for new marina

A PLAN for a marina in Ballina could be put to the private sector for development within the next 12 months, with Ballina Shire Council now working on a master plan for the trawler harbour site.

The plan would include redeveloping the site into a larger and more diverse marina.

Stakeholders have been pushing for a marina for Ballina for more than 10 years.

The council's strategic planning manager, Matthew Wood, said the project had required a lot of behind the scenes work because the land was owned by the State Government and not the council.

An existing Roads and Maritime Services depot may also need to be relocated as part of any upgrade.

"Basically the intention is to identify key opportunities for this site, particularly focused on marine infrastructure and a marina," Mr Wood said.

"We'll also be looking at commercial and open space outcomes.

"The council's goal is to develop a plan that might attract some interest from the private sector and the NSW Government."

Mr Wood acknowledged that building a marina for Ballina was a costly, long-term project.

But he said the council had received strong feedback, for more than a decade, that a marina was important for the town's future.

"We've had lots of positive feedback from the government agencies - the Roads and Maritime Service, Premier and Cabinet, Crown Lands ... they are participating actively in the discussions," Mr Wood said.

"The next stage is for community and stakeholder engagement.

"We'll be going to key potential users.

"There will be an analysis of demand and need - how many berths would be required, and what facilities and amenities people want.

"The two real reasons for this master plan is that the council has been told that there is a need and a demand for this type of facility.

"Secondly, it would be a significant economic driver. The next closest facilities are really Yamba and Southport.

"There's an opportunity for this to be a good project for Ballina."

Mr Wood said the council hoped to approach the private sector with a plan within the next 12 months.