10 big moments that defined 2020 for Lismore City Council
AFTER a year of floods, fires and a global pandemic, it would be an understatement to say that Lismore Council has faced a big year.
Here are some of the highlights and lowlights from 2020 for the council:
1) Lismore Council delivers huge financial turnaround.
In a bleak year which was decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, Lismore Council managed to deliver a surprising audit result. The recent audit saw Council had recovered their deficit from an eight million dollar deficit to $600,000 deficit.
2) Isaac Smith resigns as mayor
Mayor Isaac Smith shocked the local community by announcing his resignation from the role late last week. Cr Smith had held the role since 2016 and been on council since 2016. His retirement from Lismore City Council will be effective from 1 February 2021.
3) Two councillors resign from Lismore Council
It feels like a lifetime ago, but it was shock decision to see councillors Gianpiero Battista and Greg Bennett resign from Lismore City Council in August.
Mr Battista described his decision at the time as a ‘vote of no confidence’ in the leadership of the council.
4) Council’s major rate hike scrapped
Another one from earlier this year. Council had debated whether to raise the rates by 24 per cent over four years. The plan would have staggered a rate increase by 7.5, 9.4, 3.9 and 3.2 per cent to fund an infrastructure and roads backlog.
After widespread backlash, the council agreed to withdraw the application.
5) Lismore declared a natural disaster zone
Heavy rain lashed the Lismore LGA and the entire Northern Rivers region.
The rain was unrelenting to the point that it created flash flooding and gridlocked the CBD. The damage is expected to exceed $15 million dollars and saw Prime Minister Scott Morrison visiting the city and declaring the area a natural disaster zone.
6)‘Tough’ budget gets approved
It was described as ‘devastating’, and the budget where ‘everywhere cops a cut’ and undoubtedly, the 20/21 budget was one of the tougher budgets we have seen.
At the time it looked tough as the reckoning of COVID-19 area was recognised but the result of the financial audit shows that the council is having progress in a difficult financial position.
7) Lismore Lake Pool debate revives
The Lismore Lake Pool is a hotbed of debate both for council and local residents, and it was at the forefront of community debate in 2020, both offline and online.
The project was the subject of a debate between council’s general manager Shelley Oldham and Page MP Kevin Hogan, involving a mysterious $2 million dollar offer to save the pool.
8) Santin Quarry quashed
The issue of Santin Quarry’s DA attracted a major amount of public submissions before council sided with local residents and declined on granting Santin Quarry an extension.
The submission wanted the quarry extended for sixteen years on their pre-existing DA conditions from the 1990s.
The public mounted a case that the DA was expired and void.
9) Heritage Park receives a facelift
The beloved park facility, on the outskirts of the Lismore CBD, is ready for a new generation of children to enjoy after council delivered their facelift of Heritage Park.
The new pieces for the kids and young at heart include a water park and a new climb-and-slide centrepiece.
10) Council unveils their annual upcycled Christmas tree
It is always a much-anticipated reveal and the annual Lismore Christmas tree did not disappoint in 2020.
The tree was designed by council staff and used sustainable materials with a focus on recycling materials.
The 2020 tree was a shout out to the rural community.