Port Ballina Taskforce Calls for Dredging

  • Business & Finance

Members of the Port Ballina Taskforce have again asked Ballina Shire Council to lobby the NSW State Government to see if a one-off dredge of the Ballina Bar can be undertaken to allow a practical study of the benefits of dredging to be assessed.

The taskforce, which has been constituted by the council, was formed to pursue actions that will see Ballina grow as a recognised maritime centre, both from a recreational and a professional fishing and boating perspective.

The taskforce consists of representatives from organisations such as the Ballina Chamber of Commerce, the Ballina Fishermen’s Co-operative, NSW Premier and Cabinet, Council and community representatives.

Taskforce member James Foster said that members appreciated the feasibility study for dredging the bar completed by the State Government in 2012, along with the ongoing hydrographic surveys that are taking place on a quarterly basis.

However, Mr Foster confirmed that taskforce members, and many in the community, would still like to see a one-off dredge of the bar to determine the real cost of dredging and to assess how long the navigational benefits of the dredging will last.

Dredging has not occurred on the bar since the mid-1970s.

“Gathering data on the response of the bar to dredging will allow us to see if regular maintenance dredging can assist ongoing navigation of the bar or whether we need to look at a permanent sand bypass system, similar to the Tweed and Southport bars, to maintain a cost-effective long-term solution,” said Mr Foster.

Local trawler operators and many local recreational fishers understand the dangers that exist with any bar and Ballina is no different.

“However, there may be an opportunity to significantly improve the bar though a one-off dredge and with the bar not having been dredged for many years, it would be interesting to see if there are long-term safety benefits from dredging.”

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