An artist's impression of the proposed new Marine Rescue tower at North Wall, Ballina.
An artist's impression of the proposed new Marine Rescue tower at North Wall, Ballina. Contributed courtesy of architect Dominic Finlay-Jones

Lions Club raise funds for new marine rescue tower

WHILE Ballina's Marine Rescue unit's leaning tower is still sinking, the crew's hopes haven't sunk on a new building.

Commander John Donoghue, speaking at the Ballina Lions Club meeting last week, said there was little chance the new tower would be built until after the next Federal election.

He said the organisation needed to get pledges from all sides of politics for the $850,000 needed to get the project done, after several occasions when promises were made and that candidate didn't get into government, or the party didn't form government.

He said council had already advised the group that work won't start until all the funds are secured, though Cmdr Donoghue said the shortfall for just the tower building was only about $100,000, while the total cost of the whole project was $2.1m.

The issue of the leaning tower first arose in 1998.

THANKS FOR THE DONATION: Ballina Marine Rescue Commander John Donoghue and unit member Tania Hawker accept $6000 from Ballina Lions Club president Jeff Spencer.
THANKS FOR THE DONATION: Ballina Marine Rescue Commander John Donoghue and unit member Tania Hawker accept $6000 from Ballina Lions Club president Jeff Spencer. Graham Broadhead

Cmdr Donoghue said it had become a serious workplace safety issue.

He told the Lions the roof leaks and creates a slippery floor which, combined with the tower's lean, has the potential to cause an accident.

Then there is the concern about getting an injured person out of the tower down the narrow, steep stairs.

He said the group was having a meeting this Friday, organised by State Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith, in an attempt to source funding.

"We don't expect anything until the next election," Cmdr Donoghue said. "But we live in hope."

Meanwhile, the Lions handed over a donation of $6000 to Marine Rescue to go towards the fit-out of the new tower, once it is built.

The money was raised at this year's fun run-walk.

Cmdr Donoghue thanked the Lions for the donation.

"We have unbelievable support from the Ballina community," he said.