A sod-turning ceremony today marks the beginning of construction of a $12.7 million freight terminal at Casino, which is expected to take thousands of trucks of the roads.
Richmond Valley mayor Ernie Bennett and the head of Casino Rail Freight Terminal manager director Phillip Imrie joined together for the ceremony.
Once constructed, the freight terminal will connect with the Sydney-Brisbane rail line, and will open up a connection between south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.
CRFT managing director Phillip Imrie said significant work had taken place in the past 18 months finalizing the detailed design and construction plans for the terminal.
The company also had to gain development approval from RVC for the 35,000 tonne capacity grain storage facility.
‘This work has included the most comprehensive archaeological investigation carried out in the local Casino area as well as the preparation of an extensive wetland management plan,’ Mr Imrie said.
‘We are now moving into the construction phase of the project starting with the preparatory works and stage 1 construction.
‘These works will provide the basic sediment controls for the construction period and segregate the farm operations from the construction site.
‘Once complete we will be starting construction of our intersection with Reynolds Rd before commencing work on the terminal proper.
‘The full construction is expected to take around 18 months with the terminal available for the first train mid to late 2016.’
Meanwhile, Mr Imrie announced that the company intended to form a joint venture with the Casino Boolangle Local Aboriginal Land Council to operate the terminal, and its local distribution network including an intensive cattle farming operation.
‘The Casino area is the traditional meeting place of the Bundjalung people.
‘The terminal forms a “meeting place” for rail and road transport and distribution of bulk commodities including grain to the local primary producers.
‘We are confident that our venture will continue the history of Casino as a major trading and meeting location. ‘