An artists impression of the Lismore Park Masterplan proposal.
An artists impression of the Lismore Park Masterplan proposal.

7 things that could transform Lismore

1. Flood proofing

Some say that Lismore can never be fully flood-proofed because of its location.

While small-scale improvements to the city's flood protection are in the pipeline, others believe the city needs a more ambitious plan.

One idea is a grand channel that would divert flood water around the back of Lismore in a major flood.

Another is to raise the levee to offer protection from a one in 100 year flood instead of just a one in 10 year.

When the levee breaks, this is the result.
When the levee breaks, this is the result. Cath Adams

Veteran civil engineer Peter Thorpe, who grew up in Lismore, believes along with many others that the 1 in 10 year levee cursed the town to semi-complacency, without protecting it. He believes the consequences of that came last year, when the city wasn't fully prepared and sustained an estimated $200 million in damage.

For that level of damage, a large-scale investment could pay for itself in the next major flood.

With considerable engineering experience, Mr Thorpe calculated that the grand channel would cost $50 million.

More assessment of the proposal is still required, but now is the best time for Lismore to lobby to improve its flood protection and secure the city's future.

 

2. Rail Trail

Tourism is a huge contributor to the Northern Rivers economy but most dollars are confined to the coast..

The proposal for a Northern Rivers Rail Trail stretching from Murwillumbah to Casino could change this. Lismore and its surrounds could become a major stop-over destination for cycle and outdoor tourism.

Part of the proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail.
Part of the proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail. Digby Hildreth

This would have many positive side effects on the local economy, and drive the renewal of the rail corridor as a showcase for the region's stunning scenery.

In Lismore, it could propel the renewal of the Lismore train station area and the construction of a new footbridge connecting with the CBD on the other side.

It would also be a great recreational trail for locals.

 

3. Lismore Regional Park

Lismore already does organised sports very well and has plenty of top facilities.

What some say it lacks is more passive recreational spaces and a central park area.

An artists impression of the Lismore Park Masterplan proposal.
An artists impression of the Lismore Park Masterplan proposal.

The plan for a regionally significant park in the middle of Lismore is to develop a multi-faceted community space, taking under-used sporting grounds and converting them into feature playgrounds, an amphitheatre, walking trails and some natural settings.

The Lismore Regional Park plans is designed also to link the CBD with Lismore Shopping Square - the two areas of the town which have the biggest concentration of visitors.

 

4. Lismore Lake Pool

This project is not supported by Lismore City Council who voted to close it down back in 2011.

But there is a lot of community support to see the lake pool reopened.

The free, recreational pool was a major drawcard for Lismore for 40 years and delivered many fond memories.

GOLD: The Lismore Lake Pool in its prime in the 1970s, as a free public amenity for young and old.
GOLD: The Lismore Lake Pool in its prime in the 1970s, as a free public amenity for young and old. Facebook

The Lismore Lake Incorporated Committee believes it can get the pool reopened for under $500,000, despite a council report delivering a costing of $3.17 million.

If reopened, it could also build a case revitalise the lake next door as a local scenic drawcard.

 

5. Lismore Plaza

Council has an ambitious plan to develop the Harold Fredericks car park on the corner of Dawson and Magellan Streets into a modern architect designed complex featuring a new library, serviced apartments, underground car park, and a plaza.

All of this would flow into the existing art gallery precinct with the already popular Lismore Quad.

A digital impression of how Lismore Plaza would look.
A digital impression of how Lismore Plaza would look. Contributed

The completion of the plaza would cement the area as a centrepiece of the city, and a major public drawcard.

 

6. Lismore Shopping Square expansion

A proposed $90 million expansion of the Square hasn't progressed further because Lismore City Council controversially knocked it back over fears it would kill the CBD shopping trade.

But it is not dead altogether, yet.

An online poll on The Northern Star's web page in September received 65% in support of the proposal versus 35% against.

A draft plan of how the enlarged Lismore Shopping Square would blend in with the planned Lismore Regional Park.
A draft plan of how the enlarged Lismore Shopping Square would blend in with the planned Lismore Regional Park. Contributed

Those who support the proposal, including Mayor Isaac Smith and both sitting Nationals MPs Thomas George and Kevin Hogan, believe it will drive much-needed private investment into the town, and grow retail jobs.

The new Square would expand across Brewster St, and money used from the sale of the council land would help fund Lismore Park. For better or for worse, this project would certainly help transform Lismore.

 

7. North Lismore Plateau

The North Lismore Plateau has been seen for decades as a suitable site for a new suburb to balance Lismore's eastern sprawl in Goonellabah.

Already there are plans for 440 lots due to be decided next month by the Joint Regional Planning Panel. Ultimately there are plans for 1500 lots, if a neighbouring development progresses according to plans.

The North Lismore Plateau as it is now.
The North Lismore Plateau as it is now. Marc Stapelberg

This new suburb would boost Lismore's population and support the local construction industry and CBD retail sector.



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