Casino CBD is open for business
THE Casino CBD revitalisation project was officially opened yesterday despite the project being unfinished.
While the Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin, Richmond Valley mayor Col Sullivan, Auntie Nora Caldwell and Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, and Minister for Defence Materiel and Science Greg Combet declared the revitalisation of Casino CBD officially open on Walker Street, construction workers carried on in neighbouring Barker Street.
Mr Combet's attendance was questioned as his portfolios don't include infrastructure, but the federal minister said the event gave him a chance to see family in the area.
“I think it looks great and it's going to be a really good contribution to Casino in time to come,” he said.
“These things are part of the funding the federal government has been providing to try and help local communities on two fronts. One to help create jobs and activity in the local community.
“On the other point they are designed to help improve community infrastructure and the amenities for people in places like Casino.”
The $2 million revitalisation project was part of a $5 million grant awarded to the Richmond Valley Council.
The remaining $3 million is being used to build the new Casino Community and Cultural Centre. Mr Combet, Mrs Saffin and Cr Sullivan turned the first sod on the site of the centre yesterday.
Cr Sullivan praised the patience of shop owners and predicts construction on Barker Street will be finished by the end of July.
“It would not occur without some disruption up and down the street,” he said.
“It wasn't easy and we really appreciate the efforts of the owners and the shops.
“We agreed to get Walker Street finished first before Beef Week and now they are working on Barker Street. Maybe not with the same urgency but we have to keep within budget and time.”
The construction process attracted criticism from locals, including Smiths Butcher employee Brad Wenzel, who saw a decline in customers.
“It did take customers away but a lot more people have come back in town,” he said.
“We are happy that it has finished. It looks good.”