Richmond Valley Council branding.
Richmond Valley Council branding. Elvis Battaglia

10 exciting things coming to Casino and beyond

IT'S been a big year for Casino and wider Richmond Valley with high activity and planned infrastructure for the area.

In a matter of months, residents were informed of several big exciting projects coming to their town with billion dollar potential.

Here are some big things Casino can expect to see in the coming years:

1. Cannabis Farm (Casino)

It was the biggest announcement this year so far for Casino.

Richmond Valley Council has forged a landmark partnership that could see Casino become Australia's biggest medicinal cannabis producer.

Touted as the "largest medical cannabis facility in the southern hemisphere”, at full scale it will have the capacity to support annual production of 100,000 kilograms of high-quality cannabis, which equates to an associated annual revenue generation potential of between $800 million and $1.1 billion, based on current pricing metrics in the Australian cannabis marketplace.

PUF Ventures is the company behind the $50 million cannabis facility proposed for Casino.

Based in Ontario, the company's management have claimed they aim to become a leading supplier of medical marijuana in Canada.

When the farm and production centre is up and running, the cannabis oil will not only benefit Australians with a medical condition but could also benefit from future export opportunities.

It was recently revealed the facility would be 20 per cent bigger.

2. Biohub (Casino)

THE Northern Rivers is set to create another first with plans to build Australia's first crowdfunded bioHub in Casino.

The project will build a biohub facility to transform organic waste and waste water from the Richmond Valley region into energy, clean water and other bio-products.

Brisbane based Utilitas Group Pty Ltd, a bioHub developer, has partnered with Domacom to raise $4.3 million to secure the site and develop the biohub.

Richmond Valley Council General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said Casino had been mapped as an ideal place to develop a biohub due to the sheer size of biomass from the agricultural and food processing industries.

Utilitas Group has since partnered with PUF Ventures, and formed an alliance.

Through the alliance, PVA will have long term access to stable environmentally friendly energy, nutrients and reclaimed water generated by the Utilitas bioHub.

3. Saleyards (Casino)

The $14 million upgrade of Casino Saleyards is already drawing crowds from far and wide, marking a new era for livestock sales.

Richmond Valley Council says it will create a nationally significant saleyard complex which will be modern, comfortable, efficient and safe.

Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald said there were some exciting things in the works.

"In some ways this has put us on the map, people have been coming through our door more and we've been responsive to that...we've got a couple of other investments we are hopefully looking to secure in agricultural-based investments.”

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

4. Manufactured Homes Estate (Evans Head)

Other developments in the wider region include the manufactured homes estate in Evans Head which was approved earlier this year.

Mr Macdonald said the development provides housing which was "much needed in that area”.

"That estate does target over 50's market and we are looking to get that underway into next year,” he said.

5. Memorial Aerodrome (Evans Head)

A development application for a residential airpark development at the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome was submitted to the council last year.

It was estimated as $21 million development.

The multi-staged project would construct 85 residential lots, a four to five star boutique hotel and convention centre, 23 commercial lots, and a brand new aviation museum.

Mr Macdonald said the development on the Evans Head memorial aerodrome was progressing through the planning process.

6. Woodburn Riverside Park upgrade

Woodburn Riverside Park is due for a $700,000 makeover to help make it attractive to passing motorists post-bypass.

It will see a number of changes taking place, including a new multi-use community building, playground and central hub area, village green and memorial spaces, waterfront improvements and streetscaping.

"We got federal government funding that matched our funding so we got 1.5 million to spend there to upgrade the park,” Mr Macdonald said.

"Obviously Woodburn will be bypassed when the pacific highway is upgraded so we are looking at opportunities to make sure that town prospers post bypass because at the moment it does really rely on the passing trade of motorists.”

7. Drillhall (Casino)

Casino's Drill Hall site is also due for a $1.6 million upgrade.

"It's an opportunity to create a new and vibrant open public space,” Mr Macdonald said.

He said council were looking at having a visitor information centre as part of the development.

For Woodburn and Drill Hall he said council would be looking to commence construction on those by April next year.

8. Bangalow food hub

Mr Macdonald said if the $37 million industrial food hub proposed for Bangalow doesn't work out then they will "do our best to make it work in Richmond Valley”.

"We've been in touch with them and have let them know if things don't work out in Bangalow then we are willing to have conversations with them.”

"I think some of the people that are working on that one are going to come over and meet with us anyway just so they understand what we have available here.”

9. Olympic Ski Jump

Lennox Head didn't want it, and now it's got the Lismore community divided.

"With that sort of thing if we had a suitable site - I'm not sure if we do - but we'd be open to those discussions,” Mr Macdonald said.

10. Northern Rivers Rail Trail

It's been years of discussion but Mr Macdonald said council was "very supportive of the rail trail”.

"We want it to happen but to make it happen it will rely on funding from the federal and state government, and we've made that clear to them.

"We'd like them to make a decision one way or another so that we can move forward with getting the rail trail happening in our area or if its not going to be funded we can put our efforts into other projects.

"We do know that the rail trail would provide a really good boost to our tourism offer and it would be a great thing for the region in linking tourism.”

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