Dredging has been finished at the Ballina trawler harbour.
Dredging has been finished at the Ballina trawler harbour.

Plans floated for Ballina trawler harbour

COMMUNITY input will soon be invited by Ballina Shire Council about plans to revitalise what could be one of shire's largest assets.

Councillors voted at Thursday's meeting to place trawler harbour plans on public exhibition in the coming weeks.

The designs proposed to transform the harbour by doubling its size and develop a precinct of residential and commercial buildings.

It's a vast contrast to the existing site according to Mayor David Wright, who said the harbour consists of a Roads and Maritime Service depot, a grassy section and a piles of dredged sand.

Cr Wright said the proposed rates rise, if approved by IPART, will generate about $300,000 annually to accompany State Government grants.

The combined funding could allow the council to redevelop the West Ballina precinct and rejuvenate the health of the shire's waterways such as the Richmond River.

"We want to turn the river back into an assets for everybody. At the moment, the health of the river is not conducive to even fishing,” Cr Wright said.

Ballina Fishermen's Co-op chief executive officer, Phil Hilliard said the safety of the Ballina bar must be bolstered to attract visiting recreational and commercial boats to the harbour.

"You can't do anything about the trawler harbour unless you do something about the bar,” Mr Hilliard said.

Cr Wright hoped the harbour reconstruction could begin in about three years.