FREE RENT: Council's deal for $100m cannabis facility
A COMPANY planning to build a $100 million medical cannabis facility at Casino will have free rent at the 27-hectare site for five years.
The land, owned by Richmond Valley Council, is at the north-eastern edge of Casino near the sewerage treatment plant.
According to a report in the the business paper for tomorrow night's council meeting, the council was forced to "act promptly" in order to secure a partnership with PUF Ventures Australia (PVA).
"PVA had discussed opportunities with several councils in the Northern Rivers and reviewed up to 70 possible sites," the council's report explains.
"When fully operational the facility, including growing, manufacture and processing would be capable of employing up to 300 people directly; and up to 400 when indirect jobs are accounted for."
At last month's council meeting, the general manager was authorised to "negotiate a deal for the lease and/or purchase of land to facilitate the development".
This month's report reveals that PVA will enter a commercial lease with the council, with free rent for five years, and an option to purchase the land after that time.
The sale price would be "less than a recent valuation for the land, but more than council paid for it when purchased in 1999."
"Council will also provide some infrastructure works as part of its commitment to secure this development," the report explains.
"Council has offered an incentives package to entice this development to the Richmond Valley due to its anticipated economic benefits to the area and the Northern Rivers region.
"An investment of this size which can deliver a massive boost to our Gross Regional Product and resultant jobs, together with many skills and training opportunities across a wide age demographic, does not present often.
"A strategic decision was therefore taken to give the Richmond Valley and its community every chance to secure this opportunity via the incentives offered by Council."
Some aspects of the Memorandum of Understanding will not be made public, the council says in the business paper, because of the "commercially sensitive nature of the content and confidentiality clauses contained within it".