GOODBYE TO OLD, HELLO TO NEW: Ballina Marine Rescue's Commander John Donoghue with the old and new towers in the background.
GOODBYE TO OLD, HELLO TO NEW: Ballina Marine Rescue's Commander John Donoghue with the old and new towers in the background. Graham Broadhead

Ballina's 'leaning tower' set for demolition

COMMANDER John Donoghue won't miss the old leaning Marine Rescue tower on North Wall when Ballina's Marine Rescue unit moves into its new headquarters in the next week or so.

"I'll be glad to see it go," he said.

The old tower is due to be demolished in the week starting October 10, and the Marine Rescue volunteers will have moved in to their new headquarters by then.

Commander Donoghue is one of only two of the unit's 60 volunteers who were at the original meeting in the late 1990s held to talk about the need for a new tower because of the lean on the old one - Kevin Thompson was the other at that meeting.

Up until 12 months ago, Commander Donoghue didn't think he would see a new tower in his lifetime.

But the funding has come through and the leaning tower - which is still shifting - is coming down.

The old tower was closed last year because of safety concerns, after volunteers were injured.

Ballina Shire Council's project manager, Chris Allison, said the popular North Wall pathway will be closed from 7am to 4pm during the demolition works from October 10 for a few days.

Commander Donoghue said the new tower gives the volunteers a better view out to sea and along the coast, and has toilet and kitchen facilities for the volunteers as well as a lift.

"Everything is an improvement," he said.

"It will be much more comfortable.

"Everyone keeps asking me if I'm excited about moving in, but it's been so long - I'm starting to look forward to it now."

The official opening of the new Marine Rescue tower is scheduled to be held in December.


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