Independent laboratory completes water-quality testing near gas well

Independent baseline testing at Metgasco’s Rosella-1 gas well has been completed. Richmond Valley Council initially championed the need for adequate baseline assessments of existing water levels and quality and air quality 16 months ago, however, the NSW Government failed to respond. Last year, Council called on Metgasco to agree to have independent baseline testing done at its Rosella-1 gas well prior to any drilling starting – over and above the testing and environmental commitments imposed upon the company through its licence and well approval conditions.

After agreement was reached, Council engaged Lismore-based Richmond Water Laboratories to carry out testing within a two-kilometre radius of the well prior to drilling. The information obtained from the baseline assessments will provide the Council, landholders and the general community with valuable information prior to any future gas production taking place. Further testing will be carried out three months after Metgasco ceases operations. All tests results can be found at

Media release: Wednesday 2 April 2014


Council approves Bentley protestors camp site

Richmond Valley Council has approved a section 68, or “approval of activities”, application for a temporary camp site on private land on the corner of Bentley and Bungabee roads. The application sought approval for people associated with Gasfield Free Northern Rivers group to camp there as part of their protest activity.

Council’s General Manager John Walker said the application was assessed in accordance with normal section 68 procedures and was approved subject to conditions, such as no more than 200 people at any one time were allowed to camp, four serviced portable toilets were to be provided on site and no shower facilities or cooking or food preparation facilities were permitted.

Mr Walker said the approval also did not allow any activity, signage or structure to be carried out on a public road or on Council’s road reserve.

Other conditions include: no parking on Bungabee or Bentley roads to comply with Council requirements that the public road be available for public access; the gate on Bungabee Road is to remain open at all times to ensure public access is available to the public road; no food is to be sold, prepared or distributed on-site without a separate approval being obtained from Council to ensue public health standards are maintained; and the camping ground, dwellings and camp sites must be kept in a clean and tidy condition at all times to ensure the amenity of the premises is maintained for those who can view the campsite from the roadway or adjoining lands.

Mr Walker said all costs associated with the camp site would be borne by the applicants.

He said as with any activity or development, the community could lodge comments with Council if they believed the activity created any issues for the public.

“All applications processed by Council are subjected to the Local Government Act and are approved on merit,” he said.

“As Council has repeatedly stated, our main concern is protecting Council assets, including our staff, and to ensure the community was not put at risk.”

Media Release: Thursday 27 February 2014

Easter Office & Facility Closures

Council wishes to advise all landfills will be closed Good Friday 18 April and Easter Sunday 20 April.  Normal garbage collection service applies.

The Casino, Coraki, Evans Head and Kyogle libraries will be closed Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.

Council’s Casino and Evans Head offices will be closed Easter Friday and Easter Monday.

In case of emergencies, contact 6660 0300, your call will be answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Heritage grants scheme now open to small and large projects

Every year Richmond Valley Council awards thousands of dollars in matched dollar-for-dollar grants to renovators keen to restore heritage items in the Richmond Valley area. As in past years, the scheme will continue to provide a funding pool totalling $14,000 for maximum dollar-for-dollar grants of $2000 for smaller projects. However, this year a second funding pool has been created with an allocation of $10,000 specifically to fund large projects on a dollar-for-two dollar basis.

Owners of items listed on Richmond Valley Council’s heritage register are encouraged to take up this valuable opportunity and to consider all manner of heritage improvements such as fences, verandahs, roof cladding and guttering, decorative materials, signage, drainage, repairs, weather proofing and structural work right through to final painting works under the scheme.

Applicants should access the scheme guidelines and eligibility criteria documents before completing the application form due before close of business Monday, 28 April 2014.

Information is available by visiting a Council office or the Heritage page.

Media Release: Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Protestors out of line calling for business boycott

Protesters campaigning against gas exploration and production have turned their attention to letter writing to attack Richmond Valley Council and local businesses. Richmond Valley Mayor Ernie Bennett said he was astonished to learn today a number of unsigned letters making incorrect claims against Council and even going as far as suggesting boycotts of local businesses were being distributed throughout the area.

Cr Bennett said this appeared to be an attempt by the more radical anti-gas protestors to coerce local residents and businesses into joining their protest for fear of retribution.

Cr Bennett said local government, in this case Richmond Valley Council, was not the consent authority for gas activity and was unable to approve or reject locations of wells.

He said it was important to note there was no requirement for Council to implement controls into any Development Control Plan regarding gas as this was regulated by higher order legislation.

“Approvals for gas wells are managed by the NSW Government, which is the consent authority not local government,” Cr Bennett said.

“The location of gas wells is also guided by the NSW Government. Council does not control nor have a say in the location of gas wells.”

Cr Bennett said it now seemed truth was becoming collateral damage in the debate.

He also said to be attacked and boycotted for no particular reason was unAustralian.

“Calling for a boycott of family-owned, local businesses which employ local people is outrageous,” Cr Bennett said.

Cr Bennett said Council was neither for nor against gas activity, however, he said Council had always been a strong advocate for improvement in the consultation process between Council, NSW Government agencies and the gas industry.

He said he believed all parties in the debate needed to work together and learn to trust each other to achieve a balance of outcomes which were positive, based on fact and the best available science.

Media Release: Monday 24 March 2014

Volunteer at your local centres to make a difference

Richmond Valley Council is looking for community-minded people interested in making a difference to volunteer at the Casino Community and Cultural Centre or the Visitor Information Centre. Council’s General Manager John Walker said both centres played important roles in the community by providing a welcoming meeting place and a wealth of information.

Mr Walker said the call for volunteers followed an increase in demand for a range of services on offer at the Casino Community and Cultural Centre and a change to staffing arrangements at the Visitor Information Centre.

He said volunteers had the opportunity to learn valuable skills and meet new and interesting people.

“If volunteering interests you and you are a good conversationalist and would like to share your time, then we would love to hear from you,” Mr Walker said.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Rebecca Ryan on 6662 3566 or email

Media release: 19 April 2013