Richmond Valley Council is considering buying the Casino Drill Hall for $340,000 to ensure it remains as an asset for the community.
The decision to buy the hall follows outrage last year when the Australian Defence Force announced it wanted to sell the hall.
That announcement prompted an angry response from RSL representatives and community groups, and resulted in a number of public meetings and deputations to politicians.
RVC chief executive John Walker said the council had been negotiating with the Commonwealth in order to buy the hall.
‘Following a notice of motion from Cr Sandra Humphrys in March, Council began negotiations with the Commonwealth Government to buy the hall for the primary purpose of a military museum, but to also include other community uses,’ Mr Walker said.
He said the negotiations were finished and he was recommending that the council buy the hall and associated land for $340,000.
Mr Walker said funds for the purchase would come from council’s Real Estate and Property Reserve Fund.
He said if the recommendation was accepted at Tuesday’s meeting, council would engage with the community on potential uses for the site, including the intended military museum.
He said the council would retain ownership of the land for the benefit of the community.
‘Following a number of public and private meetings, including one with the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Darren Chester and Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan, it became clear the only viable option to keep the property in public ownership was for the council to seek to acquire the land on favourable terms,’ Mr Walker said.
‘The acquisition of the site by council will remove time pressures for the community to develop ideas and seek funding for these ideas.’
The hall was originally built by the Light Horse Brigade in 1908 on land near the post office in Barker St before being relocated in the mid 1930s to its current location on sloping land to the south of the Richmond River on the Summerland Way.
Light Horse regiments from Casino, Tenterfield and Kyogle were based at Casino and used the hall for training.