Lives will be lost on the Ballina bar if it is not dredged soon, according to Fishermen’s Co-operative member Garry Joblin.
Lives will be lost on the Ballina bar if it is not dredged soon, according to Fishermen’s Co-operative member Garry Joblin. Contributed - Meg Luckie

Ballina bar forcing boats to risk rocks, fishing co-op says

AS BALLINA Shire Council continues to pursue its own options for the dredging of North Creek, the issue of the dangerous Richmond River bar remains a problem.

Ballina Fishermen's Co-op general manager Phil Hilliard said the dredging of the bar was still desperately needed.

"The latest hydrological survey has shown that the depth has actually increased lately," he said.

"But we're talking about 20cm.

"It's not a lot.

"The problem remains that the deep channel, where there's 16m of water, is right along the breakwall and that's very dangerous.

"About 2 1/2 m out, there's only 3m of water.

"Something needs to be done."

A spokesman for Crown Lands confirmed the latest survey of Richmond River entrance, undertaken in April, indicated a "continuation of the general deepening of the Ballina bar observed since the August 2011 survey".

"Nevertheless, these surveys provide only a snapshot of bed levels at that time, and that entrance bars are highly dynamic areas subject to change," he said.

Crown Lands is organising a new survey of the bar scheduled for August, subject to availability of a suitable surveyor and favourable weather and ocean conditions.