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Richmond Valley News

Mystery road uncovered in Evans River

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Mystery road uncovered in Evans River

It’s been nearly six months since the flood that devastated parts of the Northern Rivers and it keeps on giving.

With the volumes of water that descended on the town of Woodburn, a fair chunk of that flowed through the Tuckombil Canal and into Evans River, creating a turbulent force that washed away tonnes of sand, changing the whole bottom structure of the water course.

Thanks to the eagle eyes of two local jet-skiiers, Brody Aleckson and Mick McGillivray, the river has been forced to offer up some of its mysteries.

“Mick got a rock jammed in his jet-ski up the river,” said Brody,a  local real estate agent.

“He went to pull the rock out and realised there were all these other rocks in a big line.

“We knew something was going on here.”

The men came back the next day at low tide and flew their drone over the area.

The pictures and videos that came back to them show two parallel lines of large rocks stretching from one sand bank to where the river goes deep again.

“We don’t know if (the structure) continues, as sand still covers that last bit,” said Brody.

Despite growing up in the area Brody had never seen the structure before and after asking a few long term residents with more than 70 years of knowledge, he still had no answers.

Evans Head historian Lil Colless said there had been a footbridge in that area back in the 1880s used during the gold-mining days.

“There was a footbridge which could have been built by the Chinese,” she said.

“There were about 200 or more here in the 1800s.

“The river has sanded up so much since those days.”

A reference in a local history book referring to a crossing, matches with an historical map showing a crossing near where the drone photos were taken.

There is the possibility it is the remains of oyster leases that were established in the river many years ago, but nothing is definitive.

If you have some knowledge at what the mystery structure could be, please contact The Northern Rivers Times so we can investigate further.

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A piece of history demolished

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Woodburn IGA
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A piece of history demolished

 

By Samantha Elley

On the corner of River and Cedar Streets stands a building that has been part of the fabric of Woodburn for many years and always a general store of some type.

Most recently, up until the 2022 floods it was the local Woodburn IGA store.

Starting with pioneer, John Lang, who opened a small store on the southside of Woodburn, the Pedley Brothers took it over and replaced the old shop with a much larger store which opened in 1891.

It was two-storey and very light and airy. Haberdashery, groceries, men’s boots and general drapery were downstairs and furniture and bedding upstairs.

Oscar Schulstad took over in 1917 and it became the Excelsior Store.

A few older residents in Woodburn would remember the store being Redwoods, as well.

Woodburn IGA

The Excelsior Store as displayed on the wall of the current building

Redwoods store was badly damaged in the 1945 cyclone and it was around this time the building was replaced for one that was all brick.

Owners of the building since 2002, Neale and Tania Hundy hope that its demolition will be a step in the right direction, since it was badly damaged in the 2022 floods.

“We have mixed feelings about the whole thing,” Tania said.

“One, it’s sad to see it being demolished as we have had lots of memories of the building and the changes.

“The other, is the future and where we go from here.”

The demolition almost happened last year in November, but is now a sure thing and while it is sad for the Hundys to see their memories go, and also sad to see a piece of Woodburn history demolished, there is always hope.

“Hopefully, at least, it will be a step in the right direction,” said Tania.

The timeframe for a new Woodburn IGA store, however, is up in the air.

“Our insurance company is AIG and we are still fighting over the water inundation as we speak.”

 

For more Richmond Valley news, click here.

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Casino NSW News

1500 new home sites for Richmond Valley

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Members of parliament at the new Summerland Estate
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1500 new home sites for Richmond Valley

 

By Samantha Elley

Summerland Estate is the latest piece of land to be opened up as part of the NSW Government’s $100 million Resilient Lands Program.

Summerland Estate, located on the north side of Casino at Fairy Hill, the area has been identified as part of Richmond Valley Council’s Housing strategy as it sits well above the floodplain, allowing for flood-resilient homes to be constructed.

“Today, the announcement is ($245,000) to Richmond Valley Council to do some studies under the Resilient Lands package to open up, up to 1500 home sites at Fairy Hill,” said Clarence member, Richie Williamson, on the banks of the Richmond River at Woodburn last week.

“It is a significant injection of cash to allow the council to get to a position to apply for more funds.

“It is a further step in our flood recovery here in the Richmond and of course more broadly across the Northern Rivers.”

The Northern Rivers Times asked, as this announcement was made on the banks of the river at Woodburn, if there was land opening up for flood-affected residents closer to the riverside village.

“That’s something the council will work through,” Cr Williamson said.

“This land (at Fairy Hill) was identified some months ago…as one of the lands in the Richmond Valley Council area that is eligible for this funding.

“What I’m working for, for Woodburn is the Resilient Homes. I want to see houses raised and want to see homes retrofitted because it’s really important that communities like Woodburn are kept together.

“We have a critical mass, so schools continue to function and shops continue to function.

“It’s coming, I can tell you we are all working very hard, places like Woodburn, Broadwater to ensure that they get their fair share too.”

Members of parliament at the new Summerland Estate

From L to R: Parliamentary secretary for Disaster Recovery, Janelle Saffin, Richmond Valley Mayor, Robert Mustow, Member for Clarence, Richie Williamson and Reconstruction Authority’s CEO, Malcolm Lanyon. Photo: Trish Parker.

Reconstruction Authority’s CEO, Malcolm Lanyon, said flood-affected buyers will be prioritised to buy the new blocks of land at Fairy Hill as they come on the market.

“Under the Resilient Homes program, people that are in that program are actually prioritised for the Resilient Lands program,” he said.

There is, however, a question around the affordability of the blocks when they will be available.

Richmond Valley mayor, Robert Mustow said this was an exciting time for the Richmond Valley.

“With plans for new jobs and more houses on flood-free land and at more affordable prices compared to many areas across the Northern Rivers,” he said.

Member for Lismore and Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery, Janelle Saffin, said this funding was a vitally important next step towards delivering resilient homes for the community.

“It also demonstrates the NSW Government’s commitment to working with community leaders and supporting all parts of the Northern Rivers affected by the 2022 floods,” she said.

This Resilient Lands program announcement follows the recent ones of 400 lots in East Lismore and up to 50 new households in the Mount Pleasant Estate, Goonellabah.

As far as the Resilient Homes program goes, Mr Lanyon said over 100 assessments have been done for the house-raising and retrofit program so far.

“I can say there will be an announcement quite imminent on the start of that program, certainly within Woodburn,” he said.

 

For more Richmond Valley news, click here.

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Northern Rivers Local News

Richmond Valley Council Secures $245,000 Funding for Flood-Resilient Housing Development

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Richmond Valley Council Secures $245,000 Funding for Flood-Resilient Housing Development

Richmond Valley Council has received a $245,000 grant from the NSW Government’s $100-million Resilient Lands Program, paving the way for the development of up to 1,500 flood-resilient homes at the Summerland Estate, just north of Casino. This funding will support crucial infrastructure investigations and technical reports essential for the planning and delivery of the project.
Identified in the Council’s Housing Strategy, the Summerland Estate’s location above the floodplain makes it ideal for constructing flood-resilient homes, which will bring significant benefits in terms of population growth, job creation, and economic development to the region.
This initiative follows recent announcements regarding the development of 400 lots in East Lismore, up to 50 new households in the Mount Pleasant Estate in Goonellabah, and funding for Byron Shire Council to complete strategic planning for the Saddle Road development at Brunswick Heads.
The Resilient Lands Program, in conjunction with the $700-million Resilient Homes Program, aims to accelerate the delivery of new land and housing options, providing flood-affected homeowners with safer relocation opportunities. Both programs are administered by the NSW Reconstruction Authority to aid in the recovery of communities across the Northern Rivers.
For more information, visit the NSW Reconstruction Authority.

Official Statements:

Paul Scully, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces: “This development is a win-win for the community and the local council. It unlocks flood-resilient land, helping residents move off the floodplain, while also delivering on the promise of more homes for our growing population.”

Jihad Dib, Minister for Emergency Services: “We are working with Richmond Valley Council as part of our commitment to addressing the long-term recovery needs of the community. This investment allows the council to conduct vital infrastructure investigations on land above the floodplain, providing more relocation and housing opportunities for those affected by the 2022 floods.”

Janelle Saffin, Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery: “Flood-affected communities across the Northern Rivers have been awaiting safer land and housing options. The strategic planning initiative by Richmond Valley Council, potentially developing up to 1,500 homes at Summerland Estate, offers real hope and opportunities, embodying the principle of equity in recovery.”

Cr Robert Mustow, Mayor of Richmond Valley: “It’s an exciting time in the Richmond Valley with plans for new jobs and housing on flood-free land, offered at more affordable prices compared to many areas across the Northern Rivers. This funding under the Resilient Lands Program will enable us to progress necessary infrastructure investigations, boosting confidence in government investment.”

Richie Williamson, Member for Clarence: “This funding is welcome news, offering flood-impacted individuals and families the option to relocate and build affordable homes on flood-free land. It provides certainty and confidence for the future. I commend Richmond Valley Council for their constructive collaboration with the NSW Government and the Reconstruction Authority.”
The Richmond Valley community, resilient in the face of multiple natural disasters, is set to take a leadership role in regional recovery, securing the necessary infrastructure investments to support housing and industrial growth, thereby contributing to alleviating the housing crisis across the Northern Rivers.

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