Council promotes changes to key development policies

Richmond Valley Council this week invited local development professionals to a meeting at Evans Head to provide an update on Council’s ongoing pro-development activity. Tuesday’s breakfast meeting, the second in a planned series of development forums, received strong support from local builders, certifiers, real estate agents, and solicitors, who were pleased to consider the potential opportunities for their clients. A key topic for the meeting was Council’s recent relaxation of s64 fees for secondary dwellings and the opportunities this creates for property owners to establish granny flats, teenager accommodation, and possible income support through rental opportunity. Although generally limited to 60m2, these secondary dwellings are expected to meet a community need for affordable housing within existing properties. Council staff also promoted the use of the now free pre-lodgement meetings which allow prospective commercial and “mum and dad” developers to get advice from a range of Council professional officers. This process allows applications to be streamlined and helps clients see wider development opportunities.

Brody Aleckson, real estate agent for LJ Hooker Evans Head, has attended both Council-run forums and has made use of the expanded service. Mr Aleckson said attending the recent developer forum was a great way to engage with Council on an informal level and find out the reforms in regards to secondary dwellings and how this could be a benefit to home owners in the area. He said the forums showed Council’s willingness to be open and transparent in its dealings. He said Council’s free pre-lodgement meetings were also a great way to move forward with development plans. “I have been involved in a development this financial year regarding a subdivision whereby I took advantage of the free pre-lodgement meeting with Council to discuss if the development was feasible and also if Council could see any potential issues arising from the application,” Mr Aleckson said. “I was provided with minutes of the meeting and they helped me determine a pathway to overcome any issues. Development always has an element of risk involved and whilst Council can’t approve the DA on the spot, you can certainly decrease your level of risk exposure via a pre-lodgement meeting. It pays to do as much research as possible and bring that information to the meeting. In years gone by, local councils were seen as road blocks to development; this is no longer, and anyone wanting to do a development should consult with Council to see how it can help.”

Also in attendance on Tuesday was Mark Formaggin, Principal/Director PRD Nationwide Casino, who has also brought project enquiries to the Council pre-lodgement panel and was pleased with the new opportunities this approach to development would bring to the Richmond Valley. Mr Formaggin said the recent developer forum on secondary dwellings was open and informative. “The forums show the commitment of Richmond Valley Council in assisting people, especially at the early stages of a proposed development, through pre-lodgement meetings and the supply of available information,” he said.

Further details on the forums, and development opportunities, can be obtained from Council’s Casino and Evans Heads Customer Service Centres, and online at

Cheeky campaign showcases Casino businesses

The Casino Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) has embarked on its most adventurous campaign to highlight the range of goods and services which can be obtained in the town. According to CCCI President Kim Morris, the I Did It In Casino campaign is deliberately provocative to gain the attention of the public. Mr Morris said the campaign would feature television commercials, print media, merchandise sales and social media exposure to get the message out that Casino had plenty to offer in terms of commerce and industry. “The cost to run this campaign is significant in terms of the CCCI’s resources and we are very appreciative of Richmond Valley Council's financial support,” Mr Morris said.

Richmond Valley Council’s General Manager John Walker said a key aim of the Council was to grow the local economy and achieve greater prosperity for all residents. Mr Walker said Council was satisfied the CCCI campaign had the potential to promote Casino as a genuine place to do business, which in turn would help local establishments to succeed and be profitable. He said Council was encouraging all local business to be part of the Chamber’s campaign and use the new Richmond Valley Made icon alongside the I Did It In Casino logo for promoting services and products as a valued part of the community, as well as giving a unique selling point further afield. “The two new campaign symbols allow us to stamp our pride across all Casino has to offer,” Mr Walker said.

Mr Morris said not only was the CCCI campaign highlighting the CBD where people could have a leisurely cup of coffee and a look around to see what’s on offer, it would also show the diverse range of goods and services which could be gained in other areas, including the Industrial estate. He said shoppers may be missing out on goods they were not aware could be obtained here. “Want a banjo? Want shading for your outdoor area? Want home hardware? These are just few of the items people may not know are offered here in Casino,” Mr Morris said.

Media release: 5 September 2014

Life after the highway - time to put plans in action!

It has been spoken about for decades, but finally the Pacific Highway upgrade between Woodburn and Ballina has been given the go ahead by both the NSW and Federal governments. Aside from Woodburn, a number of other Richmond Valley communities will be affected, such as Broadwater, Coraki, Evans Head and New Italy. According to Richmond Valley Mayor Ernie Bennett, this means it’s time to put post-bypass plans in action. Cr Bennett said the secret for a community to survive a highway bypass was to plan ahead, and to plan early. He said it also involved thinking more laterally. “This is where Richmond Valley Council comes in,” Cr Bennett said. “Instead of fearing the loss of traffic, Council will join with residents and business and industry to reinvent our towns as destinations in their own right. Work needs to start on a master plan to not only attract overnight visitors, but also day trippers to restaurants, cafes, hotels, shops and other amenities. This may require beautifying main streets and recreation areas, and widening footpaths to encourage more alfresco dining.”

Cr Bennett said Council would be holding a public meeting in the Woodburn Memorial Hall on Tuesday, 23 September from 6pm to put in place a strategic plan for all communities post-Pacific Highway bypass. Speakers will include Richmond Valley Mayor Ernie Bennett, Council’s General Manager John Walker, State Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, and representatives from Woodburn Chambers of Commerce, Roads and Maritime Services, TAFE and Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan’s office. A strong attendance by community and business leaders at this meeting will send a clear message to all stakeholders that the Richmond Valley is serious about its communities becoming post-bypass success stories.

Media release: 28 August 2014

12 month household asbestos disposal trial underway

Richmond Valley Council, in collaboration with NE Waste, has begun a trial Householders’ Asbestos Disposal Scheme (HADS) to help reduce disposal costs for asbestos by up to 30 percent. The project is a NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, funded from the waste levy as part of the NSW Government’s commitment to reduce illegal dumping and enhance waste services across the State. The funding allows for an incentive of up to $50 per tonne for registered residents who disposed of wrapped bonded asbestos at the Nammoona Transfer Station in Casino. In addition, the NSW EPA will waive the waste levy on bonded asbestos disposed of in the Richmond Valley to assess whether there was a change in illegal dumping incidents. Richmond Valley residents under the asbestos trial scheme can dispose of up to five tonnes once only, and will be required to provide proof of their address.

Householders disposing of less than 10 square metres are able to take advantage of a Householder Asbestos Kits, which include safety gear, bags and instructions for how to remove asbestos safely in your home.  Kits are $110 each and can be collected from Council’s Casino and Evans Heads offices and the Nammoona Transfer Station. Illegal dumping is costly to clean up and potentially harmful to human health and the environment.  This trial will assess how effective a more affordable and accessible asbestos disposal scheme will be in reducing instances of illegally dumped asbestos waste. For more information on the HADS go to or contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on 6660 0300.

Media release: 29 July 2014

Richmond Valley the next stop for Arts Northern Rivers creative roadshow

ARTS Northern Rivers is calling for expressions of interest from artists and creative industry practitioners living and working in the Richmond Valley, to take part in the Northern Rivers Creative Roadshow. The Roadshow is an exciting opportunity for creative professionals to show off their work in a series of high street pop ups rolling out across the region over the next two years. The Richmond Valley Pop Up will open in September with a brilliant program of professional development mini-workshops and artist talks which are sure to provoke, stimulate and kick-start creative careers. The Northern Rivers is well known as a ‘hot-spot’ for the creative industries making up the highest concentration of visual artists outside Australian capital cities and the largest cluster of screen industry workers outside Sydney and Melbourne.

To further promote and foster the rapidly developing industry, Arts Northern Rivers launched Northern Rivers Creative, a portfolio platform for arts and creative industry practitioners which offers accessible tools and a network to enhance the exposure of local creatives on the Internet and beyond. Richmond Valley arts and creative industry practitioners interested in the opportunity are encouraged to submit an expression of interest form. Alternatively, more information and the EOI can be found on the Arts Northern Rivers website or by calling Arts Northern Rivers on 6628 8120.

For more information, interviews and photo opportunities please contact Zoe Robinson-Kennedy, Arts Northern Rivers Communications Officer, on 6628 8120 or 0403 666 584.

Media release: Friday, 18 July 2014

Casino Fun Run planned for 28 September

Athletics NSW is pleased to announce the inaugural Casino RSM Fun Run on the last Sunday of September, Sunday 28 September. This exciting community-based initiative will feature three fun runs: Casino RSM 10km, LJ Hooker 5km and Parker & Kissane Solicitors 4kids2km. Athletics NSW is delighted by the support already shown by the Casino community and local businesses, for what will be Casino’s first officially sanctioned and accredited run. According to Managing Director and CEO of Athletics NSW Greg Meagher, Athletics NSW was committed to staging events in regional NSW and increasing participation in athletics across the State. Mr Meagher said Athletics NSW was very excited about this latest edition to the running calendar. Richmond Valley’s Mayor Ernie Bennett said the Fun Run was a perfect fit for Casino as it not only provided a family-friendly event which could be supported as a participant, volunteer or spectator, but because it also fitted in with the Richmond Valley’s event calendar at the other end of the season following on from the conclusion of local sporting competitions. “We encourage everyone to get involved and make this the largest running event in Northern NSW,” Cr Bennett said.

Entries are now open at To receive a free event t-shirt and be eligible for the early bird rate, participants must enter by 5pm Friday 5 September. The event is seeking the support of volunteers and we encourage all those interested, to register their interest by emailing:

Media release: 4 July 2014

Richmond Valley Made (Do Not Delete)

The Richmond Valley is full of unique places, people and produce, all shaped (or ‘made’) by the local environment.  This is what makes the Richmond Valley area special.  Let’s shout about it. Let’s celebrate this diversity.  The ‘Richmond Valley Made’ icon allows us to stamp our pride across all that the valley has to offer.