Plans to make Casino a major transport hub are another step closer to becoming a reality.
A $12.7-million freight-rail terminal was approved by the northern Joint Regional Planning Panel yesterday.
The developers behind the project say it could generate more than 500 jobs in industries such as forestry and agriculture and generate up to $250-million in revenue and investment for the region.
Panel chairman Gary West says the terminal should lead to a reduction in heavy vehicle traffic on east coast highways.
“It has the capacity to put huge tonnages off road and back onto rail,” he said.
“I think that’s something the people of NSW have been looking forward to for a long time,” Mr West said.
Phillip Imrie, from the Summerdowns Rail group, says the terminal will be able to handle trains more than one-and-a-half kilometres in length.
He says this will make it more affordable to transport grains and forest products over long distances up and down the east coast.
“The land transport task is predicted to double by 2020, so effectively this does create a real alternative to actually out freight back on the railway, particularly the heavy-lift freight and free up the roads to cope with local distribution,” Mr Imrie said.
The Richmond Valley mayor, Col Sullivan, says he’s confident the proposal will succeed and become an economic boon for the region.
“With job opportunities comes security of work,” he said.
“It’s the first step of what we see as further development across the area and I’m so pleased about this approval and it’s taken a number of years to get to this stage but it’s been worth the wait and time and the development’s looking really positive and really good,” Cr Sullivan said.