Boats in trawler harbour "sitting on the mud", says co-op
AT LOW tide, the boats moored in the trawler harbour at Ballina are "sitting on the mud", says Ballina Fishermen's Co-op general manager Phil Hilliard.
"No work has been done at the trawler harbour since it was made about 24 years ago," he said.
"Now there's only 3 1/2 feet (1m) of water in there at the deepest point - it used to be 15 feet (4.5m).
"Trawlers sit on the mud when the tide goes out, so that means that they can't move again until the high tide comes in.
"There are about four or five berths that can't be used by the trawlers.
"That just shows how much the harbour has silted up."
Mr Hilliard said there was an increasing need for the trawler harbour to be dredged, and sooner rather than later.
He said he had recently received verbal advice that the State Government had approved dredging, but he is yet to receive written confirmation.
"I don't feel confident that it will happen; not until I get it in writing," he said.
"Having the trawler harbour silted up like it is now is not good for the trawlers in terms of maintenance.
"The poor state of the harbour also affects the guys' ability to actually get out and make money, which is what they need to do."
A spokesman for Crown Lands yesterday confirmed that site investigations for the dredging of the Ballina boat harbour had been finalised, but he would not say whether a dredging program had been approved.
"Crown Lands is consulting State and local government on potential beneficial re-use options for the dredged sediments," he said.
"This advice will be used by Crown Lands to estimate the potential costs and assess the overall feasibility of dredging the boat harbour."