Chris Gulaptis tosses a $1 coin under the watchful eye of Richmond Valley Mayor Robert Mustow and General Manager Vaughan Macdonald, while delighted members of the Casino Art Group look on. Mr Gulaptis donated the $1 to Council.

Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis has secured approval to sell the former Roads and Maritime Services building in Casino to the local community for $1.

Mr Gulaptis made the announcement on site with the Mayor of Richmond Valley Council Robert Mustow and elated representatives from the Casino Art Group who lobbied to stop the proposed auction of the State Government-owned building.

“The building was planned to go under the chopping block in June but Tony Hennessy from the Casino Art Group and Council both approached me to see if I could intervene and halt the auction as they saw potential in converting the building into an art gallery and community hub,” Mr Gulaptis said. “Following my representations to the NSW Government I am delighted to announce the building will now be transferred to Council for one dollar.”

Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow said he was delighted with the building’s handover, saying a dedicated art precinct would benefit not just Casino, but the whole Richmond Valley area. Cr Mustow said there were several art groups operating across the Richmond Valley, which would be encouraged to use the new gallery.

“We have the Casino Art Group, which instigated this process, we have Aboriginal art groups, Men’s Sheds and individual artists and crafts people who would all benefit from this dedicated artisan space,” he said.

Mr Gulaptis said the NSW Government’s Community Use Policy gave local councils the opportunity to acquire surplus owned property no longer required by the Government to deliver better community outcomes.

“I was only too pleased to advocate on the community’s behalf because I am so passionate about building more social infrastructure in our local communities,” he said. “This is a terrific outcome for the Richmond Valley community and I look forward to seeing the community’s vision for the future use of the site.”