DRIVEN TO ACT: Because the Burns Point Ferry operates at a loss to Ballina Shire Council, councillors have voted to force season pass holders to fork out $115 extra a year for the vital service.
DRIVEN TO ACT: Because the Burns Point Ferry operates at a loss to Ballina Shire Council, councillors have voted to force season pass holders to fork out $115 extra a year for the vital service. The Northern Star

Burns Point Ferry season ticket fee jumps more than $100

SOUTH Ballina residents could be forced to fork out an extra $115 each year for a season pass to take their car on Burns Point Ferry.

The current annual fee per car is $250.

However Ballina Shire councillors have voted to increase the fee to $365 as part of debate about the draft annual fees and charges.

Burns Point Ferry connects south and west Ballina, and means residents on the south side don't have to travel to Wardell to cross the Richmond River.

But the ferry operates at a loss to the council - this financial year's loss is expected to be about $245,000.

Cr Paul Worth, who supported the increase of the annual ferry fee, said it meant people would pay $1 a day for as many trips on the ferry as they liked.

"I was surprised to see how much money the ferry was losing," he said.

"I do think the fee should be increased to $1 a day, and that is cheap.

"It should actually be higher - they should pay more.

"The service should be there, but it should be fair and reasonable for all parties."

"We lose $250,000 (on average) a year on the ferry ... that's $250,000 we could be spending on other programs and facilities," she said. "We also talked about charging $1 for bikes to use the ferry.

"We can get up to 500 bicycles a week on the ferry, and at the moment they don't have to pay anything.

"I think it's unfair - they should contribute. That debate is not over yet."

Acting general manager John Truman said residents were encouraged to make submissions on the draft fees and charges.


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