Council reveals ‘poppy playground’ plans for Casino Drill Hall Precinct

THE ongoing renewal of the Casino Drill Hall precinct is set for completion by the end of this year, following Richmond Valley Council’s success in obtaining $885,000 from the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Fund to build a memorial walk at the site, complementing the $405,000 committed last year for the redevelopment of nearby Coronation Park.

The redevelopment project will see Coronation Park benefiting from a unique poppy-themed playground, new landscaping, boardwalk and viewing platform set above the banks of the Richmond River.

Richmond Valley Council General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said Council had developed an exceptional master plan for the project.

Mr Macdonald said in developing a theme for the proposed playground, the master plan took into consideration the history and use of the surrounding site, hence the use of the poppy, which is a powerful symbol of war remembrance.

He said the poppy-themed playground was the first of its kind, having been designed especially for this site and its important links to our Anzac history.

“Council originally divided the project into two stages to ensure we were able to deliver a result which did justice to the space,” Mr Macdonald said.

“Opened in 2019, the first stage included the restoration and expansion of the Drill Hall proper, now home to the Casino Visitor Information Centre and the Northern Rivers Military Museum, creating an important site for community events with the nearby amphitheatre, and added much-needed parking and landscaping.

“This final stage will complete the project by adding the memorial walk, which will stand alone as a major feature of the site, while also integrating the Drill Hall with Coronation Park.”

In line with the upgrade, Council has removed specific trees in Coronation Park to make room for playground and park infrastructure. The majority of these were Cadaghi trees (Corymbia torellina), which are known to cause negative environmental impacts to our ecosystem; one example being the damaging impact to the Australian native stingless bee population.

To replenish the area, Council is planting a variety of more than 20 semi-advanced native trees.

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