WORK to re-build the Rock Valley Post Office is expected to start later this month or as soon as a development application (DA) is approved by Lismore City Council.
The Rock Valley community requires a functioning building, even if not fully complete, before March 2013 "because post boxes are due for renewal in March. People will need to be able to purchase new boxes on time or customers may be lost," said Betty Olivieri, president of the Rock Valley Hall Inc.
The tiny building was destroyed by a fire in the early hours of October 1, 2012.
About 30 shocked Rock Valley residents gathered around the 80-year-old single room building that night to witness it burn while the Larnook Rural Fire Service doused the blaze.
The DA application for the new buidling was filed by Rock Valley Hall Inc in early November and it includes some minor changes to the building.
Betty Olivieri said that some of the changes include having "all the mail boxes on the one wall, and to insulate the roof.
"The old building was designed as a post office only and the addition of a convenience store was done in an ad hoc fashion. The new building will have the advantage of being purpose-built."
Asked if the new building will continue being considered the smallest Post Office in the country, Mrs Olivieri said that "the architect who drew up the plans is well aware of the value of the Rock Valley Post Office as a tourist icon. However, it is no longer a licensed post office but is now a postal agency."
The estimated cost of the new building will be at least $40,000, coming from the insurance payment received by Rock Valley Hall Inc who owns the building, plus funds raised and donations received.
An Australia Post spokeswoman confirmed they expect "the rebuilding of the Rock Valley Community Postal Agency to start this month and take around three weeks. New signage is due to arrive in February as well as a street posting box."
Betty Olivieri recently received a letter from a former post mistress now residing in Tasmania who shared her memories of the post office "as a place where people would leave goods or messages to be collected back in the 1940s".
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