SETBACK: Ballina coast guard's Norm Lannoy with the damaged flag pole.
SETBACK: Ballina coast guard's Norm Lannoy with the damaged flag pole.

Vandals target coast guard

WHILE the Ballina flotilla of the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard is trying to raise big dollars for a new tower, and just to keep afloat, deputy commander Norm Lannoy is disappointed that vandals have attacked the flagpole and the gate to the training room at North Wall.

The volunteers discovered the damage early last week.

Mr Lannoy said the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard required each flotilla to fly the Australian flag at each flotilla headquarters.

It's national pride.

But the flag now can't be flown, nor the coast guard flag and the flotilla flag, because the flagpole is that badly bent.

"I don't know how they did it," he said.

He said it would probably cost about $1500 to repair the flagpole and the gate.

It's a cost the coast guard didn't need.

The coast guard has set a target of $150,000 towards the cost of $300,000 for a new tower. The current one is on a lean and doesn't have facilities like toilets for the volunteers who keep watch on the Richmond River bar and out to sea.

Mr Lannoy said the appeal had so far raised more than $50,000, and the coast guard was currently running a raffle to raise the $15,000 needed for annual running costs.

And, this year, the coast guard is required to replace the rescue boat at a cost of $200,000-plus. They have $120,000 set aside for that.

Last week, the chairman of the board of the Ballina RSL Club, Gary Hooley was a welcome visitor at the coast guard tower.

He was bearing a big giant novelty cheque to mark a donation of $6000 the club has donated to the tower appeal.

This donation was one of 98 the club made in the last donation round, totalling $249,829, which Mr Hooley said exceeded the State Government regulated $131,000 the club had to donate.

Mr Hooley said there were moves around that threatened clubs, particularly from anti-poker machine lobbyists.

But he said communities benefited when clubs were profitable.

Meanwhile, tickets will be sold in the coast guard-s annual boat raffle at the following locations: September 11 and 12, Alstonville Plaza; September 13, Australian Hotel, Ballina; September 14, Ballina RSL Club car park; September 15, Australian Hotel; September 16, Farmer Charlies, West Ballina; September 17, IGA, Ballina; September 18, Big W; September 19 and 20, Kmart, Ballina.


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