A strong sense of community and a feeling of belonging are experienced in the Richmond Valley. There is passion held by residents toward the abundance of natural assets and the lifestyle that a coastal and rural existence provides. This combined with affordability and future opportunity reflects – the ‘a sense of place’.
The Richmond Valley is home to a diverse community that spreads from the coastline at Evans Head to the rural heartland of Casino over a total expanse of approximately 3050km2. The sense of community is enhanced by the friendliness of the people and the acceptance of all who call the Richmond Valley home.
Natural assets: The Pacific Ocean splendour of Evans Head is cradled by both the Broadwater and Bundjalung National Parks. Further inland, the deep broad water of the Richmond River flows through villages of Woodburn, Coraki and Tatham. The Richmond River travels through the rural vista of Casino and, along with the agricultural abundance of surrounding villages, takes in views of World Heritage listed national parks and forms part of the North Coast Bioregion.
Cultural significance: The Richmond Valley, like many Northern Rivers communities, has a significant indigenous cultural heritage and embraces this connection with the original custodians of the land. Non-indigenous heritage is also highly appreciated in the Richmond Valley by residents and visitors alike, with support for sites such as the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome, listed as a State Heritage item, along with other agricultural and pioneering sites. Additionally, Casino’s Art Deco buildings are well known as some of the most significant examples of this architectural style in NSW.
Locations and geography: The Richmond Valley, from the west through Casino is the gateway to the Northern Rivers; similarly from the south via the Pacific Highway, New Italy and Woodburn welcomes travellers into the upper Northern Rivers area. Positioned within 1 hour drive to the Gold Coast and 2 hours to Brisbane, the Richmond Valley is close enough for all the right reasons and far enough to ensure this coveted lifestyle is maintained.
Major industry sectors and employers: The Richmond Valley is a leader in primary industries and food manufacturing enterprises, with the NSW Sugar Mill located at Broadwater and Richmond Dairies and the Northern Rivers Meat Cooperative at Casino. This is supported by a number of agricultural businesses located across the Richmond Valley specialising in grain, dairy, beef, fruits, vegetables, timber and tea-tree. There is also a healthy retail and tourism sector, growing creative industries and building and construction industry sectors. Along with the potential for new energy sources and transport, it is the work ethic of Richmond Valley people, consistently mentioned by employers, that provides a distinct advantage for business and industry investment. In terms of business numbers by industry, the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing sector is by far the largest in the Richmond Valley with 37.1% of total businesses, followed by the Property & Business Services with 12.3%, Construction at 12.3% and Retail Trade on 11.6%.
Population: The Richmond Valley’s current population level sits at 22,672 people (2008) which represented a growth of .8% over the previous 12 months. Over the past five years, the population of Richmond Valley has increased at an average annual rate of 1.2%, which was higher than the growth rate for New South Wales over the same period (0.9%). The Richmond Valley Council identified significant change for its community when the NSW State Government, through the Minister for Planning, released the Far North Coast Regional Strategy (2006) determining that 9,900 new homes would be required by 2031.
Property: The number of dwellings approved in Richmond Valley was 68 in the year to the September Quarter 2009, representing an annual decrease of 17.1%. This was less than the decline in the total number of dwelling approvals across the Northern Rivers region which fell annually by 42.8%. Source: ABS 8731.1
The number of other dwelling approvals (i.e. flats / units) in Richmond Valley increased substantially by 71.4% in the year to the September Quarter 2009. Source: ABS 8731.1
The total value of residential buildings approved in Richmond Valley was $16.3 million in the year to the September Quarter 2009, a decrease of 9.3% from the level recorded in the year to the September Quarter 2008.
The value of non-residential building approvals in Richmond Valley increased annually by 321.3% to $21.3 million in the year to the September Quarter 2009. By comparison, the value of nonresidential building approvals in the Northern Rivers region rose by 49.0% over the same period.
The Richmond Valley is an attractive industry destination with coastal and inland options available dependent upon business requirements. Both key locations, Evans Head and Casino, provide a myriad of opportunities and access to vital utilities including transport routes, power, water and waste services as well as business support and facilitation services. Newly established estates have been created around cluster models designed to provide additional advantages to business.
Further information on the Richmond Valley’s property market and current and future plans for land use can be accessed at www.richmondvalley.nsw.gov.au or phone Richmond Valley Economic Development on 02 66 600 300.
Telecommunications: In 2005 Richmond Valley Council was part of a consortium of Councils undertaking a project to increase the coverage of Broadband Internet services throughout the Northern Rivers and South East Queensland area. The project successfully introduced wireless broadband capability into many areas that were unable to access ADSL over copper.
Telstra Countrywide work closely with customers across the Richmond Valley to provide a suitable internet connection. Currently under negotiation with the Federal Government is the National Broadband Network (NBN) initiative. This initiative will deliver superfast broadband to 13 Council areas, including the Richmond Valley, along the mid-north and north coast of NSW. Other service providers continue to enhance their coverage throughout the Richmond Valley ensuring the region provides for demands into the future.
Road: The Richmond Valley has three main road transport arterials:
- The Pacific Highway goes south to Sydney from New Italy and north to Brisbane at Broadwater;
- The Summerland Way goes south to Grafton and north to Brisbane at Casino;
- The Bruxner Highway comes to Casino from Ballina and Lismore in the east, going west to Tenterfield through the Kyogle boundary and connects with the New England Highway.
The Richmond Valley also relies on a series of regional roads such as the Coraki-Casino Road.
There are number of Pacific Highway upgrades currently taking place which provide a logistical advantage and increase accessibility for the Richmond Valley. Further information can be obtained from the RTA website, www.rta.nsw.gov.au.
Rail: The Casino to Murwillumbah branch line connecting Sydney to Murwillumbah via Casino is currently out of service. The Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd (ARTC) is currently responsible for the management of the standard gauge rail track. ARTC is also addressing the challenges of securing a critical mass for freight rail transportation through their Strategic Investment Outline. There is great potential for the Richmond Valley in developing the rail freight opportunity with private investors moving forward with a freight terminal and intermodal facility located at Reynolds Road in Casino, adjacent to the rail corridor.
Airports: Whilst Casino Airport is currently deregistered for commercial passenger aircraft however there is still provision for a fully operational airport if a regular passenger service was required. The Richmond Valley community is well serviced for commercial air access to Sydney with the Ballina Byron Regional Gateway Airport and Lismore Regional Airport offering regular services and the Gold Coast Airport only one hour away for a broader destination list.
The Casino Airport provides for general aviation services and with the adjacent industrial land for aircraft related only manufacturing and services currently under development there are many opportunities as yet untapped to leverage this asset.
Council also operates an airfield at Evans Head, the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome, and is currently considering concepts for future airpark development.
The Evans Head Memorial aerodrome is heritage listed due to its significance relating to its use as a WWII air training facility.
Electricity: Essential Energy has a Bulk Supply Point located at South Casino and has identified the future need for a North Casino Zone Substation with preliminary planning for this investment currently underway.
- Existing Essential Energy feeder lines to Casino stem from:
- 66 kV line 0893 – Lismore – Casino 1.
- (Transgrid owns the 132kV line)
- 132 kV line 96L Tenterfield – Casino – Lismore 2.
- Planned upgrades to the above are:
- Richmond Valley Power Station (30 MW) to be developed by Metgasco Limited. 1.
- Dumaresq – Lismore 330 kV – currently in negotiations to construct an additional 330 kV line between Lismore and Casino and continuing to Tenterfield.
Gas: Metgasco Limited is a petroleum exploration company that is a major interest party and operator in the Petroleum Exploration Leases (PEL) 13, 16 & 426. The PEL 16 area alone, that includes Casino and surrounds, covers a gross area of 830km2 with proven and probable reserves of coal seam gas currently at 247 PJ (net) with a possible reserve of 1,389 PJ (net). For more information please refer to the Metgasco website at http://www.metgasco.com.au
Water supply: The water supply for Richmond Valley Council is comprised of two discrete systems. Council owns and operates the water supply scheme for Casino with water sourced from the Richmond River. The water treatment plant at Casino has the capacity to treat up to 23ML per day.
Richmond Valley Council also reticulates water purchased from Bulk Water provider Rous Water to the Lower Richmond communities of Coraki, Woodburn, Evans Head, Rileys Hill and Broadwater.
Community infrastructure, facilities and open space: Richmond Valley Council completed an extensive Facilities Needs Review in October 2008. This document provides a comprehensive listing of all community assets and their uses by locality and can be obtained from Council’s website.
The Richmond Valley has been segmented into eight (8) locality precincts: Broadwater-Rileys Hill, Casino, Coraki, Evans Head, Woodburn and Rural North, East and West. A locality guide has been created by Council each of the precincts and can be downloaded from Council’s website.
Education: Richmond Valley has three (3) secondary schools to Year 12 and one (1) to Year 10. Casino hosts a campus of the North Coast Institute of TAFE while Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus is only 30 minutes drive away.
Hospitals: Casino & District Memorial Hospital provides all round general care, a 24hour accident and emergency department, a maternity ward and operating theatre facilities serviced by local MDs and visiting specialists from Lismore. Campbell Hospital in Coraki caters well for the local community and offers a range of services including some operating theatre services.
Retirement and Aged Care Facilities: The range of retirement and aged care facilities located throughout the Richmond Valley caters for all levels of care as well as independent unit living and more resort type community lifestyle. A significant increase in bed availability will be realised in the near future with plans underway for two new additional facilities to be constructed in Casino and Evans Head.
Distances between major towns and cities
- Richmond Valley (Casino/Evans Head) to Sydney 720km
- Richmond Valley (Casino/Evans Head) to Brisbane 222km
- Richmond Valley (Casino/Evans Head) to Lismore 30km
- Richmond Valley (Casino/Evans Head) to Grafton 100km
- Richmond Valley (Casino/Evans Head) to Coffs Harbour 186km
- Richmond Valley (Casino/Evans Head) to Kyogle 30km.
- Richmond Valley (Casino/Evans Head) to Ballina 60km
- Richmond Valley (Casino/Evans Head) to Byron Bay 77km
- Richmond Valley (Casino/Evans Head) to Tweed Heads 155km
- Richmond Valley (Casino/Evans Head) to Gold Coast 175km
- Richmond Valley (Casino/Evans Head) to Toowoomba 263km