31 new things coming to the Northern Rivers this year
1. High speed internet
This year the Northern Rivers will see construction of NBN fibre-to-the-node begin. The first locations to see build commence are Bexhill, Chilcotts Grass, East Lismore, Girards Hill, Goonellabah, Lismore, Lismore Heights, Loftville, North Lismore, Richmond Hill, South Lismore. That should begin to happen in the first quarter, for completion from November onwards.
2. Indoor sports centre at Ballina
Two indoor sports courts will be built as part of the $40m Ballina High redevelopment. These two courts will be integrated with two courts provided on the school site providing an overall four court facility. Ballina council formally considered the joint venture three times in 2016 and most recently resolved in December 2016 to proceed. It is a joint venture with the Department of Education.
3. Wollongbar skate park
A contractor has been appointed for the design and construction of this facility following a tender process. The contractor is currently evaluating two sites, being Plateau Drive and the Wollongbar Sports Fields to provide Ballina Shire Council with an overview of the type of skatepark that could be built on either site.
4. Wollongbar sports fields
This project is nearing completion with the fields and facilities largely constructed, along with the new tennis and netball courts. The very dry weather is causing difficulties in respect to the turfing of the fields.
5. $1.6m retail complex at Lennox Head
The Shop Top Housing development application for Rayner Lane has been advertised for public comment and is being assessed by council staff. It is planned to present in the February Council Meeting for determination.
6. Coastal shared pathway at Ballina
The pathway is now open from Angels Beach to Sharpes Beach. The Aboriginal Cultural signage acknowledges our Aboriginal cultural heritage through education and information signage on the coastal recreational path in the vicinity of the East Ballina Aboriginal Place. The Aboriginal Cultural signage is due to be installed in January or February and significant revegetation works are also scheduled for the first six months of 2017.
7. West Ballina Marina
The draft Ballina Marina Masterplan is nearing completion and it will soon be reported to Ballina council for approval to exhibit for public comment. The intention of the project is to encourage and facilitate enhanced marine infrastructure and other uses on the site.
8. Martin St Boat Harbour
A master plan for the Martin Street boat harbour in the Ballina CBD has been completed. There are two options for the boat harbour. Option A is based on the museum remaining in its present located, and option B is based on the museum being incorporated within a large new purpose-built facility.
Ballina and Alstonville pool upgrades
Woollam Constructions has been appointed to design and construct both the Ballina and Alstonville Swimming Pools. Detail design works are commencing now, with construction works to commence during the 2017 off season. A consultation meeting was held with key stakeholders and user groups associated with the pools in December 2016.
9. Ski jump facility at Lennox Head
The NSW Government invested $5.9 million for the Lennox Head Aerial Skiing Water Jump. It is expected to open in 2018.
10. New Ballina high school
AFTER 86 years in operation, Ballina High closed its doors in December to make way for the new Ballina Coast High School. Demolition and the beginning of construction is due to commence this year, while students share the Southern Cross School campus. Students from both schools will them move into the new campus upon completion in 2019.
11. New Ballina animal shelter
Northern Rivers Animal Services volunteers have almost completed stage one of their new animal shelter. It included moving into the new office and installing cat condos and dog kennels.
12. Lismore airport upgrade
The Lismore Regional Airport and the aviation centre are undergoing a $1.8 million upgrade. Work on the runway lighting is complete, while work on the runway, tourist information facilities and visitor amenities is in process. All works are expected to be complete by April next year.
13. Rainbow Cafe
The Tuntable Falls community formed the Rainbow Rebuild group following the fire that completely destroyed the cafe in August, 2014. Lismore City Council had a Development Application pre-lodgement meeting last year and are awaiting a DA to be lodged.
14. Lismore Base Hospital work
Upgrades to Lismore Base Hospital continue this year with stage 3B. It includes further construction of the South Tower, bringing it to 12 storeys, and also construction of a new four-storey North Tower. It will open in stages throughout the year.
15. Solar farms in Lismore
Lismore City Council partnered with Farming the Sun to build a floating solar PV plant at East Lismore Sewage and install a 100kW rooftop PV at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre. Both are due for completion by the end of February.
16. Retail super centre at Lismore
The Lismore Home and Leisure Centre, announced last year, is expected to bring over 140 full-time jobs to the area. Its proposed location is next to the airport, however a Lismore City Council spokeswoman has confirmed they are waiting for a development application.
17. North Lismore Plateau
Plans for the major subdivision on the North Lismore Plateau have been started and halted and started and halted many times in its long history. About two months ago Lismore City Council announced the plateau's rezoning was finally secured, however Aboriginal elder Mickey Ryan has come forward with new claims that an Aboriginal stone wall is situated on the site. The claims are being investigated.
18. New Lismore gallery
The $5.8 million Lismore Quadrangle is edging closer to its expected completion date at the end of July. Expressions of Interest are now being sought from interested Bundjalung artists.
19. Bennetts office
Lismore's biggest commercial development in over a decade is close to completion. The four-storey, 16-metre high office building by Bennett Constructions is expected to be complete in just two months. The block is located on Molesworth St.
20. Albert Park upgrade
A world-class facility in Lismore would see Albert Park become Baseball Australia's premier complex. Lismore council is currently working with interested parties to seek external funding. The upgrade is expected to cost $4.47 million.
21. Masters replacement
The former Masters site in South Lismore is set to become a Home Consortium superstore. It will include JB HI-FI, Forty Winks, BCF, Spotlight, National Tiles, Repco, Pet Stock and a cafe. Lismore council is accepting submissions about it until February 1. The $2.5 million building is expected to open in April.
22. Oakes Oval revamp
Work is expected to begin on the Oakes Oval upgrade this July. The $2.8 million project would feature the expansion of the oval to meet AFL standards alongside upgrade of the stadium, surrounding pathways and other improvements. It's due for completion by the end of the year.
23. Kyogle bridges
Kyogle's old, wooden bridges are gradually getting replaced. Barretts Bridge at Old Bonalbo was first to be completed and next up is six Lions Rd bridges. Work started on those this month, to be completed within six months. Last February Page MP Kevin Hogan announced $4.2 million to fix 13 Kyogle bridges.
24. Mountain bike tracks at Kyogle
The community has banded together to create mountain bike trails for residents and visitors to enjoy. The Kyogle Mountain Bike Club hosts frequent working bees for people to come down, help out and test the trails. A map of the operational paths can be found at Summerland Cycles, 59 Summerland Way, Kyogle.
25. Iron Gates
The controversial Iron Gates residential subdivision in Evans Head has been renamed Vantage.
Richmond Valley Council is waiting for NSW Department of Planning and Environment to assess the masterplan before they can proceed.
26. Improvements to Woodburn riverfront
Improvements to Woodburn riverfront, including designs for a jetty, are in the master planning stage. Work on the jetty is subject to waterway approvals, but Richmond Valley Council hopes it will be completed this year. The riverfront upgrade was a promise by the National party's member for Page, Kevin Hogan, in the recent federal election with a commitment of $110,000 to upgrade the foreshore at Woodburn.
27. RV resting area for Woodburn
Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia plans to develop a parcel of land in Woodburn as a RV resting area.
28. Freight hub at Casino
Construction of the Namoona Industrial Precinct and Rail Freight Terminal is ongoing. Richmond Valley Council has planned for road infrastructure upgrades. The terminal is situated on Reynolds Road, North Casino,and is anticipated to generate employment, business activity and revenue for the local community.
29. Casino drill hall
Work is anticipated to start on the Casino Drill hall site over the next two years, and further into the future as funding becomes available.
30. Pacific Hwy upgrade at Woodburn and Broadwater
Work is under way on 90km of the 155km of the Woolgoolga to Ballina project. In December Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said as a result of $1 billion worth of major civil work packages, thousands of jobs would be created locally for the huge highway upgrade.
31. Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange
The $7 million Casino saleyards upgrade will see improved animal welfare standards, through soft flooring and a fully-roofed facility. It is due for completion by November this year.