RICHMOND Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow, former Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan today officially opened the stunning new Rappville Community Hall in front of a large crowd of well wishers.
The rebuilding of the hall has been described as a major milestone for the ongoing recovery efforts following the 2019 bushfire disaster.
Cr Mustow said the construction of a new hall was one of Council’s key priorities in the wake of the devastating bushfire, which tore through Rappville and its surrounds on Tuesday 8 October, destroying the original hall and homes, as well as damaging several others.
He said in developing the plans for the new hall, located on what is now called the Rappville Common, Council had been incredibly fortunate to work with BizRebuild, a bushfire-recovery initiative of the Business Council of Australia.
He said the $1.5 million project was funded by BizRebuild’s Community Rebuilding Trust, the Australian Government’s National Bushfire Recovery Agency and Richmond Valley Council, resulting in a much-improved space for the community to use.
“Having the hall now open for community use is a fantastic step forward for the recovery of Rappville and I look forward to attending many functions here,” Cr Mustow said.
Designed by award-winning Sydney architect Virginia Kerridge, the new hall includes a generous-sized hall and outdoor deck, a separate building housing a communal kitchen and supper room, along with a covered outdoor dining area, as well as storage and amenities areas.
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the new facility provided a fantastic central space for the whole community to enjoy.
“Rappville is an exceptionally strong community, and it is wonderful to see this fantastic community precinct back bigger and better,” Mr Hogan said.
“Congratulations and thank you to Richmond Valley Council, BizRebuild, Richmond Valley-based Bennett Robertson Builders, and everyone else involved.”
General Manager Vaughan 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.
He said this sale made the next steps to construction possible.
“Importantly, with the support of the Grafton Diocese, the historic church will remain available for services and other appropriate events, while a portion of the land surrounding the church is being used as part of the new Rappville Common,” Mr Macdonald said.
“I hope the opening of this new hall and community space will make a significant contribution to the recovery process and help set up Rappville for a positive future.”