New Drill Hall site will boost visitor numbers
Five years ago, when a For Sale sign was erected at the Drill Hall in Casino, a group of residents were determined to keep the site for the community.
On Thursday, October 3, the revamped site was officially opened by Richmond Valley Council.
It was a milestone moment for people like Tony Hennessy who fought to save the site that is now a southern gateway to Casino with the Northern Rivers Military Museum housed in the original 1908 building, a new Casino Information Centre, outdoor amphitheatre and an RV and caravan capable carpark..
Set on the banks of the Richmond River, the $2.5 million Drill Hall site was opened by mayor Robert Mustow, Kevin Hogan MP and Chris Gulaptis MP.
Mr Hogan said the renewed space was a boon for Casino, providing both an attractive destination for passing travellers, and a unique hub for community events.
"In 2015 I helped keep the Casino Drill Hall in community hands by giving Richmond Valley Council the opportunity to purchase it from the Department of Defence before going to auction,” Mr Hogan said.
"The community then approached me with a compelling vision to transform the site into a space that would encourage visitors to stop and spend time in Casino, while also creating a place where the whole community could come together.
A $1.3 million federal government grant, $252,000 from the state government, as well as the council commissioning a master plan turned a for sale site into an asset for the town.
Mr Gulaptis said the site was in a prime position at Casino's southern entrance on the Summerland Way.
"Visitors with a caravan in tow can easily park, stretch their legs, visit the information centre and stroll around the precinct and down to the banks of the Richmond River,” he said.
At the opening, Mr Mustow announced a Community Financial Assistance Program grant of $5,000 for the Northern Rivers Military Museum to set up an Australian Army Corp, the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Women's Royal Australian Army Corp display.
With former RAAC member and councillor Sandra Humphrys, Mr Mustow unveiled the display of uniforms, including shoes worn by Cr Humphrys in 1976.