Housing – where can we fit 4100 more people?

ABOVE: A draft plan on the future of Casino is on public exhibition. Photo: Richmond Valley Council

Susanna Freymark

The Casino Place Plan looks at fitting more people in while retaining Casino’s quality of life.

The draft plan covers changes over the next 20 years and is on public exhibition for three months.

Richmond Valley Council’s general manager Vaughan Macdonald said the draft document was the first of several for urban centres in Richmond Valley.

The 58-page plan includes a physical vision for the town. It includes a climate change action plan, land use, parks, the Art Deco heritage of Casino, access to the Richmond River, water quality and engaging with the Aboriginal community in shaping Casino’s future.

The plan is a detailed document and because of the housing issues in the area IndyNR.com takes a closer look at what it proposes.

Population

State Government predictions based on the latest Census are that in 20 years, children and the working age population of Casino will increase by around 30%. The retirement age population will increase by 43%.

By 2041 there will be an increase of 800 children, 2000 people of working age and 1300 people of retirement age.

Housing

An additional 1700 homes are expected to be needed before 2041, bringing the total needed to 7300.

Currently there are 116 housing lots available in Casino.

The current capacity of homes is 13,350 people.

Part of the plan is looking at where urban growth can happen – where can more houses be built in Casino?

Urban Growth Area boundary

The plan says Casino is similar to many regional towns across NSW where there has been an increase in demand for housing since the start of the covid pandemic.

But even before the pandemic, Casino’s housing supply was constrained and was not keeping up with demand.

Since 2014, the number of homes available to rent has steadily declined. In a balanced market where supply is meeting demand, rental vacancy rates should be at around 3%.

In Casino, the rental vacancy rate has been below 3% since mid-2014.

At the beginning of 2022, the vacancy rate was below 1%, with only 13 homes listed to rent.

The number of homes on the market has also been falling since 2014. In 2017, there were 420 homes for sale. In January this year, there were 120, a drop of 300 homes.

Nearly half of the homes on the market are sold within two months. In 2017, half of the homes for sale were on the market for over six months before being sold.

This increase in demand has had an impact on prices. The median price for a house in Casino increased by 35% between January 2019 and January 2022.

In the plan, the council has identified potential residential areas to investigate.

Barlings Lane – short term priority

This area can accommodate some of the needed homes, can do so quickly and has good access to existing services.

South Fairy Hill – short–medium term priority

Has the capacity to absorb all or most of the needed homes, but will take longer to develop and has particular needs because it is partly in the drinking water catchment.

West Casino – long term priority

This could provide for the projected 1700 dwellings to 2041 with some capacity beyond. It sits within Casino’s drinking water catchment area and will need careful consideration of drainage solutions.

North Casino – rural/ large lot residential

This has insufficient capacity alone for all the needed homes and so would require a second development front in the medium term to meet demand to 2041.

It is serviced by the narrow Naughtons Gap Road.

However, rural residential is a popular lifestyle choice in Casino and provides an important part of the housing mix. North Casino has been recommended for large lot rural residential uses and to be removed from the Urban Growth Area boundary.

Give your feedback

To make a written submission:

Email to council@richmondvalley.nsw.gov.au

Fill out a Make a Submission form on Council’s website

Post it to General Manager, Richmond Valley Council, Locked Bag 10 Casino NSW 2470

Deliver to council’s administration centres in Casino or Evans Head

Submissions close at 4pm, Tuesday, February 28.

Copies of the Growth Management Strategy and Casino Place Plan can be found here.

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