How will the Valley grow? Have your say about our future

ABOVE: Evans Head features on the front cover of the Richmond Valley Growth Management Strategy.

Susanna Freymark

This is your chance to have a say on how Richmond Valley develops.

The draft Richmond Valley Growth Management Strategy has recently been released.

It is a response to a report published in 2017 – the North Coast Regional Plan 2036. That report is the State Government’s vision. The draft North Coast Regional Plan 2041 is the five-yearly update to that 2036 plan.

The Richmond Valley strategy was adopted in 2020.

Then some stark changes impacted the region.

That required an edit of the Richmond Valley Growth Management Strategy.

These changes were:

• The catastrophic flooding in our region this year.

• The Richmond Valley Regional Jobs Precinct initiative with plans to create an extra 600 jobs in Casino and surrounds.

• Increased housing pressure from the treechange exodus to regional NSW during the covid pandemic.

What is in the Growth Management Strategy?

There’s a lot of information in this 40-page report. We’ve included some of the detail here but have a read and see what you think.

The Growth Management Strategy identifies Casino as a centre of growth given the constraints on land in the Coraki, Woodburn, Broadwater, Rileys Hill and Evans Head areas.

The State Government has set a target of 127,000 new homes across regional communities in the Northern Rivers over the next 10 years.

Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald said Richmond Valley could contribute significantly to this growth.

“With a population of 23,550, this Growth Strategy sets a target of 4100 additional people by 2041,” Mr Macdonald said.

“Thoughtful planning will identify the right growth for all areas of the valley so we can attract new residents, businesses and services which add to our community,” he said.

Current projects including the Casino Memorial Pool upgrade, showground redevelopment, recent public place improvements in all communities, as well as region-building projects such as the Northern Rivers Rail Trail will attract more people to the region, he said.

Then came the big flood

The recent Northern Rivers floods, and particularly the impact on the community of Lismore, has changed settlement patterns around the region, the strategy report said.

Lack of temporary housing in Lismore has seen flood-affected residents dispersed throughout the region, seeking available rentals and employment opportunities.

Prior to the flood, there were strong ties between the Richmond Valley and Lismore for employment, with more than 2300 workers travelling between the two centres each day for work.

Availability of flood-safe lands in Casino and surrounds is expected to increase demand for residential and commercial development.

While it is too early to predict the final impacts of resettlement, it is important to consider these factors when planning for growth in the Richmond Valley.

More people means more houses are needed

The revised projections forecast that the Richmond Valley will increase by about 4100 people over the next 20 years bringing the total population of the LGA to 27,650 people by 2041.

The draft North Coast Regional Plan 2041 identifies investigation areas for future residential supply in certain areas of Casino, Evans Head, Woodburn and Rileys Hill.

However, much of the Richmond Valley is constrained by environmental concerns and other development factors.

The strategy has determined that the majority of required residential land supply to 2041 will be in and around Casino. Read more about that here.

A snapshot of Richmond Valley’s population. Photo: Growth Management Strategy

Limited housing in Evans Head

Evans Head is a popular destination with its natural landscapes and a village atmosphere.

As such, the village is in high residential demand, a trend which increased during the covid pandemic and rising regional migration.

However, Evans Head is a significantly constrained environment surrounded by national park.

Growth beyond the existing village footprint is heavily constrained and complex, and this restricts the supply of unused land for residential dwellings.

Plans include investigating places for growth and urban renewal within the existing urban areas of Evans Head.

Jobs

In 2021, there were 1731 local businesses and 7922 local jobs in Richmond Valley.

The development of the Regional Jobs Precinct at Reynolds Road has been led by the Department of Regional NSW to ensure there is enough supply of industrial land around Casino for a range of industries.

The Regional Jobs Precinct Masterplan will go on public exhibition early next year.

How do I give my opinion on this strategy?

The draft Richmond Valley Growth Management Strategy and Casino Place Plan are on public exhibition by Richmond Valley Council for the next three months.

Read the Urban Growth Management Strategy here.

Read the Casino Place Plan here.

“This is an important conversation we want residents to be a part of,” Mr Macdonald said.

There will be community engagement sessions in February where residents can input and shape the Growth Management Strategy and Casino Place Plan.

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 a paper submission 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.

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