NRLX overshadows flood report and other items at September RVC meeting

Council is buying land to change the road alignment for new bridges at Tatham.

Susanna Freymark

Here is a summary of the Richmond Valley Council meeting on Tuesday, September 19.

There were about 60 people in the public gallery, most of them were there for the agenda items about the NRLX.

A late mayoral minute was read out by mayor Robert Mustow.

It opened with;

“The past 12 weeks have seen divisive and distressing times in our community, as former tenants of the NRLX continue their dispute with council over the terms of new licence agreements. Since the public meeting in Casino on 4 September 2023, many locals have contacted me and my fellow councillors to make it clear to us exactly what our community wants.”

Read the full mayoral minute here.

What about the NRLX?

The Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange Future Options report was voted on by councillors and all of them supported its implementation. Read more on that here.

The outcome of that report and the council meeting is that RVC will transition out of direct management of the NRLX and proceed to an open-market tender to lease it out for the long term.

Flood report and the issue with flood gauges

The Richmond Valley Flood Report makes for interesting reading. Despite beginning this flood study in 2021, the scope and changes to flood modelling were revisited after the 2022 floods.

The submission acknowledged the difficulty in recording flood levels in the Bungawalbin catchment because of the lack of reliable gauges.

Community service delivery director Angela Jones said the working group she was part of met to discuss flood gauges and their positions.

The group is seeking federal and state government funding for more flood gauges and it will likely be a two-year process, Ms Jones said.

The current flood gauges are owned and managed by different entities, she said.

“This project aims for one entity to own and manage all the flood gauges.”

The full final flood report has been distributed to all councillors. The report will be sent to the Department of Planning and Environment. Read the report here.

The next step is the preparation of a Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan.

When will Casino courthouse reopen?

The short answer is – no time soon.

Mr Mustow wrote to Attorney General Michael Daley about the courthouse that has been closed since the floods in February last year.

State MP Richie Williamson contacted the Attorney General and was told that tenders would be called for repairs of the courthouse in November this year. The plan was that repairs would be done by March next year.

“I remain concerned these works will most likely not see the Casino Court House fully operational by March 2024 as further capital will be required by the state to meet current standards,” Mr Williamson wrote in a letter to council.

Land for the sewage treatment plant in Rappville

Council is in the process of acquiring 10hectares in Rappville for the sewage treatment plant.

The purchase of this land comes from the $3million Bushfire Local Economic Relief Fund.

New road names

Council requested suggestions from the public for unnamed roads and bridges in the valley. Council received 19 road names and 14 bridge names.

The new road names are:

Patrica St, Seller Lane and Holloway Rd, Casino

Melaleuca Rd and Candido Rise, New Italy

Joan St and Hull Lane, Woodburn

Avenmore Rd, Greenridge

Tomkinsons Rd, Backmede

Willows Rd, Evans Head

Thomas Rd, Busbys Flat

Burton Rd, Mongogarie

The selected bridge names are:

Josephs Gully Bridge

Rosolen Bridge

Fred Rose Bridge

Hannas Bridge

Roy Steen Bridge

Campbell Bridge

Physics Creek Bridge

Cordato Bridge

Partridges Bridge

John Whites Bridge

Caminitti Bridge

Atkinson Bridge

Pyers Bridge

Yabsley Bridge

Buying land for a public road

The two bridges on Casino Coraki Rd, known as the twin Tatham bridges, need to be replaced.

Council has approved the design and has secured funding of $18.7million for construction.

Three parcels of land that are impacted by the road alignment for the bridges are residual lots from the original crown grant. The current owner of this land is the Estate of the late Francis Le Bon who died in 1892. There has been no estate claim recorded at the Land Titles Office to this residual land following his death.

Council’s only option is to acquire this land by compulsory process under the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991.

Read council’s Financial Analysis Report here.

Closed council

Several tenders were discussed under closed council because the matters are confidential. Tenders were on the agenda including the tender for the design and construction of the Bentley Rail Trail bridges.

Read the council agenda here.

Listen to the livestream of the meeting here.

The land council plans to acquire in Tatham.

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