PUT UP THE CASH: Ballina's Marine Rescue unit has launched a petition calling for State and Federal governments to put up some money for a new tower on North Wall. Pictured are Commander John Donoghue with (back, from left) volunteers Joan Hurley, Catherine Ryan and Tanya Binning.
PUT UP THE CASH: Ballina's Marine Rescue unit has launched a petition calling for State and Federal governments to put up some money for a new tower on North Wall. Pictured are Commander John Donoghue with (back, from left) volunteers Joan Hurley, Catherine Ryan and Tanya Binning. Graham Broadhead

Marine Rescue volunteers launch petition for new tower

VOLUNTEERS in Ballina's Marine Rescue unit are sick of promises and want someone to come up with cash for the organisation's planned new tower at North Wall.

Commander John Donog-hue has launched a petition he hopes will show the state and federal governments the community is behind the Ballina unit.

The petition calls for the state or federal government to fund work to replace the tower, which is on a lean and has few facilities for the volunteers staffing it.

"This has come out of frustration," Mr Donoghue said.

"The architects have finished their job and it's ready to go out to tender, but we need another $500,000."

Ballina Shire Council has committed $1 million to the project, and Mr Donoghue said the community had been generous in supporting the fit-out.

While Marine Rescue is calling for $500,000, the council estimates the demolition and construction will cost about $2 million.

Mr Donoghue said theunit was sick of the promises made by politicians from all levels of government as the cash had not come.

An artist's impression of the proposed new Marine Rescue tower at North Wall, Ballina.
An artist's impression of the proposed new Marine Rescue tower at North Wall, Ballina. Contributed courtesy of architect Dominic Finlay-Jones

In the lead-up to the 2010 Federal election, Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan and Senator Barnaby Joyce pledged $2.5 million to a new tower, but Mr Hogan did not win Page in that election.

He did at the 2013 election.

Mr Hogan said he would sit down with Marine Rescue to apply for funds through the Stronger Regions Fund.

Successful applicants will be announced in March.

Ballina MP Don Page has previously made representations to the NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services

Marine Rescue volunteers have known about the lean on the tower for about 15 years, but the campaign for a new building really kicked off in 2008 when the unit held a gala day.

The petition will be available to sign at the tower at North Wall on Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 1pm.

You also can sign the petition where volunteers are selling raffle tickets in the major fundraiser on River St until the end of this week.

First prize in the raffle is a Quintrex 390 Explorer and trailer valued at $8900.

It will be drawn on October 5 at Lance Ferris Wharf in Ballina during the Rotary Club of Ballina's Great Duck Race.

The petition will be closed off on October 7.


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