Wharf named after Lance
The wharf at Fawcett Park is now the Lance Ferris Wharf, named after the late Lance Ferris – the Pelican Man – who founded Ballina-based organisation Australian Seabird Rescue.
And work is currently being undertaken on the design for a statue of a bronze pelican to be perched on the jetty in Ballina’s CBD.
Ballina’s mayor, Cr Phillip Silver, was due to make the official announcement on the naming of the wharf at the inaugural Lance Ferris Memorial Dinner scheduled for December 12.
But with last week’s decision by Australian Seabird Rescue to postpone the dinner, the announcement was made early.
He said council wanted to recognise the work of Mr Ferris, who died in October 2007, aged 60.
After Mr Ferris’ death, council resolved to rename Fawcett Park as Lance Ferris Park. But that move was knocked back by the NSW Geographical Names Board following objections.
There won’t be any problem with the naming of the wharf, Cr Silver said, as it is a piece of council-owned infrastructure.
Keith Williams, acting general manager of ASR and partner of Mr Ferris’ daughter, Rochelle Ferris, welcomed the decision to name the wharf after Lance.
He said the move not only acknowledged the work of Mr Ferris but also the Richmond River which Mr Ferris was so passionate about.
“This is a fantastic,” he said on behalf of the family and the broader family of ASR volunteers.
He is the father of Finn, Lance’s grandson, who was born just over a month ago.
Mr Williams said he enjoys taking Finn to the wharf.
“This (naming the wharf) is to say ‘your granddad was someone really special’. And much of the respect (for Lance) comes from the community – you can’t manufacture that,” he said.
A local artist has been commissioned to create the life-size bronze statue of a pelican which will be installed on the wharf early next year.
Cr Silver said the council had budgeted $10,000 for the statue, which had come from the staff operational budget.
He said he hoped the pelican would become an icon for Ballina now that nothing stood in the way of the demolition of the Big Prawn at the southern entrance to the town.
“Whether it (the pelican statute) evolves to be an icon of the town is a function of the community,” he said.
Cr Silver has already suggested Ballina could rebrand itself, replacing the seahorse, so the shire can be Ballina bypass-ready. Work on the new highway route is expected to be finished by 2012.
He said a rebranding of the shire wouldn’t be expensive, as things like stationery stocks would be used up in time.
Meanwhile, the Lance Ferris Memorial Dinner will be held on June 5 next year, World Environment Day.
Mr Williams said anybody who had purchased a ticket would receive a full refund.