Running for RVC mayor Robert Mustow in Casino.
Running for RVC mayor Robert Mustow in Casino. Susanna Freymark

RVC Mayor wants progress from youthful council

A THIRTIETH has not yet been planned for Robert Mustow, who after serving on local government in the Northern Rivers since 1987 was elected Mayor of Richmond Valley in September.

At 64, he was the most senior councillor elected last month to one of the "youngest" councils Richmond Valley has had: newcomer Sam Cornish was only 26.

"We used to have councillors in their sevienties," he said but now "I'm the only councillor in their sixties".

"It's certainly the youngest council we've had, hopefully it will be the most progressive too."

The self-funded retiree was previously a panel beater before combining passion with work as a regional development officer for New South Wales Basketball but since retiring in recent years has focused on his "small farm" and some investment properties.

When he was first elected as mayor, Cr Mustow said he wanted to see "cheap land in residential growth" and a strong community strategic plan.

Speaking to The Northern Star today he said he wanted to see more development - both residential and industrial - throughout the Richmond Valley area, especially in Casino.

"Land in Casino is cheaper than it is on the coast and it's only a 20 minute commute to Lismore," he said but "there are no residential subdivisions in Casino".

He said Council was nearing the end of its Settlers Estate sell-off: the last 15 residential land blocks from 64 total would "go in the coming months" with the cheapest block recently sold for $115,000.

"Heaps of houses have been built there" he said, adding that the properties were mostly bought by families as well as a few developers.

Council now needed to "find more land' in the area, he said.

"Council owns ten hectares of industrial zoned land on the edge of Casino," he said.

"We've had some inquiries but nothing substantial.

"We need to get this land fully serviced with sewerage, water, and electricity so we can attract something: anything at all."

Quizzed on Council's community strategic plan, Cr Mustow said the first of five small town meetings happened last night in Evans Head, to be followed in the next month by meetings in Broadwater, Coraki, Woodburn and Rapville.

About 150 people came to the information night in Evans Head, he said, and included some "very young surfers" as well as "the elderly, who usually attend".

Shark nets were a hot topic of discussion with "very strong views favouring some type of constraints to stop" shark encounters, he said.

"We also put up notice boards with statements like 'what you want in your parks' and we discussed accessibility" he said.

Cr Mustow said one of the biggest challenges for villages in Richmond Valley - especially Broadwater and Woodburn - would be the impending Pacific Highway bypass.

In an effort to lure motorists away from the highway, Council was "going to spend a lot of money on the park" in Woodburn: at least $500,000 on upgrades such as barbecue and play areas, he said.

The Richmond Valley Mayor said at 64 he still plays basketball, albeit "very slowly".

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"Little changes can make a huge difference".

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