Is this 'big thing' coming to Lismore?
STEP aside Ballina's Big Prawn, an ice cream could be the next giant Northern Rivers landmark.
Norco's newly-elected caretaker chief executive, Greg McNamara, said a massive ice cream could be constructed along with a cafe on the corner of the dairy co-operative's property on the Bruxner Highway roundabout at South Lismore.
On Wednesday, after the annual general meeting of Nocro Cooperative Limited, Mr McNamara said the leviathan landmark could be a highlight of the co-op's $30 million refurbishment of its production facilities.
"We could have a place where visitors could drive in, take a selfie of the big ice cream and then enjoy some of our wonderful Norco products," he said.
"We are planning on taking the site to a 100 million litre production space and revamp the total site in South Lismore which borders on Ballina Rd (Elliot Rd) and Union St."
Mr McNamara said the $30m refurbishment news followed the 120-year-old co-op announcing an impressive annual profit.
"We turned over $550 million and made $1.904 million profit. Norco is the fastest-growing dairy brand in the country," he said.
"This is up from $1.1 million the previous year."
Mr McNamara said the Federal Government was contributing $14.96 million as part of the Regional Growth Fund to the $30m budget for the plant upgrade.
He said a group of experts would be brought on board to plan the project.
"We have a variety of people we have brought together to plan this," he said.
"This group includes local and national experts, engineers and business consultants with a connection to doing major products and we will work closely with local council."
Mr McNamara said board member Mike Jeffery was Norco's new chairman.
He said the board was still undertaking its search for a new chief executive, but he said it was doubtful there would be an announcement before Easter.
"Quite often, when you make a selection, they have existing contracts so you need to tread carefully so as not to jeopardise their current career," he said.
"And then when you do recruit someone at this level, often there is an exclusion issue whereby they cannot work in the industry for six months or so after leaving a senior role."