Topics:  ballina shire council, surf schools

Surf schools find solid ground in Ballina after rule change

APPLAUDING COUNCIL: Nathan Folkes, owner of MojoSurf.
APPLAUDING COUNCIL: Nathan Folkes, owner of MojoSurf. Patrick Gorbunovs

OPERATORS of surf schools in the Ballina Shire now have some certainty for the future, with changes to the council's policy for licences.

Nathan Folkes from MojoSurf at Byron Bay regularly brings his schools to Ballina Shire beaches.

He said council's previous policy for issuing licences through a tender process had made it difficult to grow his business.

The controversial tender process was heavily criticised, with some long-term operators missing out on licences in the past.

But council will now issue licences for three years.

It means operators no longer have to go through a formal tender process, and can plan for the future of their businesses.

"We've been seeking supportive policy for our industry," Mr Folkes said.

"We expose this area to many international visitors and we disperse spending into regional areas, particularly to Ballina.

"We're trying to plan, invest and grow our business, but in the past our licence has been on the chopping block every 12 months."

Mr Folkes applauded council for taking suggestions from the industry on board.

He said operators approved of plans to increase the number of operators from four to six.

"We appreciate more competition. It boosts the industry as a whole in this region. The world is competing for every dollar, every surfer; it's very competitive."

Annual licence fees for surf schools are now $3400, while elite surf-coaching schools and stand-up paddleboard operators will pay $1200 a year.



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