All I want by Christmas... Mayoral wish lists for 2016
ROADS, bridges and sporting venues are high on our five local councils' infrastructure wish list for 2016.
The Northern Rivers councils - Kyogle, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Byron - did well in 2015, each securing grants from the Federal Government's Stronger Regions funding program in December to green light some long-awaited and highly anticipated developments.
But there's still a long list of projects on each council's wish list for the year.
For Kyogle Shire Council, the ongoing problem is replacing old timber bridges, mayor Danielle Mulholland said.
There are 193 bridges that are scheduled to be upgraded over the next 20 years, but they are becoming unsafe quicker than the council can repair them, Cr Mulholland said.
Late last year two bridges collapsed at Grevillia, on Gorge Creek Rd, because of storms.
Cr Mulholland said Kyogle had a dispersed rural population that relied on a decent road network to be functional.
"We need help," she said.
"We can't get our beef into the urban centres without roads."
Ballina Shire Council will be putting its hand up for a state-of-the-art sports arena with room to accommodate four basketball courts and spectator seating, mayor David Wright said.
The project is earmarked to adjoin Ballina High School, where amenities are already available, he said.
Cr Wright said the State Government was considering putting a two-court facility on the site, but if the Federal Government funding application was successful, the project could be expanded.
The council also wanted to put in a new road to access the airport and also open up a new industrial subdivision.
Lismore City Council mayor Jenny Dowell said her council also had its eye on new sporting and recreational facilities.
She said council staff had been working on potential projects that included expanding Oakes Oval so it could accommodate AFL games, improving the player and spectator facilities at Albert Park for baseball and improvements to Lismore Park.
"Just because we have received funding for the art gallery doesn't mean we will miss out on the next round of funding," Cr Dowell said.
She said the important thing was to prepare comprehensive applications that made a good economic case for the new projects.
The council would be working on its funding application as a priority for 2016.
Richmond Valley Council mayor Ernie Bennett said driving productivity and efficiencies to ensure their financial performance would remain "fit for the future" was a key focus for his council this year.
As is co-operating with neighbouring councils to pursue regional benefits through the joint organisation of councils, he said.
In terms of individual projects, Cr Bennett said developing concept plans for an amphitheatre at Queen Elizabeth Park, redeveloping the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange and looking at a pedestrian bridge linking the CBD to the sporting precinct were also high on the agenda.
He said the future of the Casino Drill Hall, the enhancement of the Crawford Square skate park in South Casino and new CBD car parking would also keep the council busy throughout 2016.
Byron Shire Council mayor Simon Richardson said after avoiding amalgamation and getting the books in order in 2015, his council would be focusing on the Byron Bay master plan, Shara Blvd sportsfield and Ocean Shores infrastructure works.
He said the council would be working alongside the community to complete the master plan, which aims to revitalise the town centre while maintaining the sought-after Byron Bay character.
Cr Richardson said completing the Shara Blvd sportsfield was also high on the list, as was using the millions of dollars earmarked for infrastructure works in Ocean Shores and the council's other northern areas.