RAPPVILLE residents can again look forward to holding community events in the heart of their village, with Richmond Valley Council awarding a construction tender for the new Rappville Community Hall at its meeting on Tuesday.
Richmond Valley-based Bennett Robertson Builders is expected to start construction next month, with an anticipated completion date of April 2022.
The original hall was destroyed during the devastating Busbys Flat Road bushfire in October 2019.
General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said rebuilding the hall had been one of Council’s first priorities in the aftermath of the destructive blaze.
“From day one the hall was obviously a key focus of our rebuilding efforts, and the consensus was to deliver something more inspiring than simply an updated replica of the original building,” Mr Macdonald said.
“Council assessed the site and its surrounds and ensured community ideas and inspiration for the new facility were fed into the design process.”
Mr Macdonald said Council received critical support toward the project from a $1.4 million bushfire recovery grant from the Australian Government, of which $500,000 was allocated to the hall rebuild.
“The project received additional funding and expert assistance from BizRebuild, a not-for-profit disaster recovery initiative of the Business Council of Australia, which contributed an additional $500,000,” he said.
“BizRebuild also put Council in touch with award-winning architect Virginia Kerridge and structural engineer Phil Wallace, who designed the new hall, and landscape architect Jane Irwin.”
The plans include a spacious hall, outdoor deck, with an additional building featuring a communal kitchen and supper room, along with a covered outdoor dining area, and storage and amenities areas.
The new facility was designed to not only provide a central community hall, as well as kitchen and entertainment facilities, but also inviting garden spaces which will provide public amenity on a daily basis.
Mr Macdonald said as part of the project, Council purchased Rappville’s St John’s Anglican Church and surrounding land from the Anglican Diocese of Grafton, with Council to retain the church but use a portion of the surrounding land for the new hall.
The plans were unveiled at an event in Rappville in August last year, with development proposal subsequently lodged and approved by Council, and a tender process undertaken in June.
“Thanks to the generosity of the Australian Government and BizRebuild, working closely with Council, we expect the new hall to be something unique for Rappville,” Mr Macdonald said.