Burns Point Ferry could make more money if it turned pirate

IT MIGHT not be the Black Pearl, but Ballina's Burns Point Ferry would still make an impressive pirate ship.

The stunt could help to attract tourists and increase the ferry's revenue, says the South Ballina Beach Community Association.

The ferry is continuing to lose money - in the 2012/13 financial year it incurred a loss of $256,000.

Revenue was down to $374,000 against a budget of $411,000 and last year's $385,000.

Debate is ongoing about whether the council should keep supporting it.

Previous feasibility studies found building a bridge to connect South Ballina with the Ballina Island could cost up to $30 million.

There is a proposal to redo the Burns Point Ferry as a pirate ship to draw more tourists as a way of reversing falling revenues for the service. A lick of paint, a mast or two, and a smoke machine ought to do it...
There is a proposal to redo the Burns Point Ferry as a pirate ship to draw more tourists as a way of reversing falling revenues for the service. A lick of paint, a mast or two, and a smoke machine ought to do it...

The cost means the ferry is essential, says Rikki Grinberg of Ballina Beach Village and South Ballina Beach Community Association.

"We have always said to the council that the ferry should be made into a tourism attraction," she said.

"Turn it into a pirate ship on weekends. Kids would love it. Get the ferry masters to dress up in pirate outfits.

"It could be the best known vehicle ferry in Australia. I don't care what they do, as long as it brings people over here."

But Cr Sue Meehan said one problem was that regular ferry users accounted for 80% of usage but only paid 20% of costs. Casual users paid the rest.

Cr Robyn Hordern agreed that the ferry was a unique asset for Ballina and should be a tourism drawcard.

"I take my grandchildren on it and they love it," she said.

Rikki Grinberg of the South Ballina Beach Community Association says the Burns Point ferry masters could dress as pirates to help the new look. Here is ferry master John Gallagher on his beloved vessel and how he might look in pirate garb ... which looks remarkably like a still image of Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Carribean.
Rikki Grinberg of the South Ballina Beach Community Association says the Burns Point ferry masters could dress as pirates to help the new look. Here is ferry master John Gallagher on his beloved vessel and how he might look in pirate garb ... which looks remarkably like a still image of Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Carribean.

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