YEE HARR: At the Ballina Chamber of Commerce Christmas party last Friday (from left) Carol Hughes, with Chris and Helen Bull, from Tassiriki Ranch.
YEE HARR: At the Ballina Chamber of Commerce Christmas party last Friday (from left) Carol Hughes, with Chris and Helen Bull, from Tassiriki Ranch.

Chamber celebrates

THERE was a positive buzz at the Ballina Chamber of Commerce Christmas party last Friday as members celebrated the year that was and looked forward to the coming year, and for good reason, according to the chair, Glenn Costello.

While this year started with visions of doom and gloom as the global economic crisis hit, Ballina Shire was fairly immune to the negative effects.

Mr Costello said the work on the Alstonville and Ballina bypasses, brining about 600 people into town, and the stability of the region’s economy were contributing factors to buffering Ballina from the credit crunch.

“We held out own in this environment while other areas dropped back,” he said.

“We stayed fairly well steady.”

He said the businesses that made up Ballina Shire, like retail and hospitality, mean the region didn’t have the same sort of ‘boom and bust’ economy like the Gold Coast, with its reliance on high-rise construction.

And the Federal Government’s stimulus packages also helped, he said.

Mr Costello also welcomed the news that Ballina Shire Council is pushing ahead with its plans to continue the upgrade to the Ballina CBD, applying for Federal money for the work which stalled several years ago.

He said the timing was right to push ahead with the upgrade so it could potentially be completed by the time the Ballina bypass is finished.

He said the completion of the bypass would open up more opportunities for Ballina as it was becoming a tourist destination for the south-east Queensland market and also a relocation destination.

“I only see the future looking much better,” he said.

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