Lismore City Council's Wilson's River Bridge to Bridge Vision Report - aerial map of potential Loop and Cycling Circuit.
Lismore City Council's Wilson's River Bridge to Bridge Vision Report - aerial map of potential Loop and Cycling Circuit.

A Bridge to Bridge vision of Lismore's own 'South Bank'

LISMORE City Council has dedicated funds from its latest budget to develop proposals to revitalise areas on both sides of Wilsons River and create the city's "own South Bank”.

Executive director for sustainable development Brent McAlister told The Lismore Echo the council set aside $20,000 during a meeting on June 20 to progress findings about community aspirations for the future funding and development of the city's river environs.

In November, consultants Village Well undertook a process of engagement with some of the city's key stakeholders, including NORPA, surrounding river parkland authorities and sporting facilities.

Mr McAlister said the Wilsons River Bridge to Bridge Vision Report promised to be "an inspiring tonic” as the city rebuilt after the flood.

"Initially it has been said the city has turned its back on the river because of the obvious threat of flooding, but the ideas from the community in this report are very inspiring and, while requiring State Government funding, could mean we could have our own South Bank (like Brisbane).”

Village Well engaged with 200 stakeholders within the precinct and the broader community to come up with the report, which refers to the enhancement of a section of Wilsons River and land that stretches between the two bridges to the south and north banks.

This land consists of a network of parks (Riverside Park, Heritage Park, Spinks Park), buildings and land, City Hall and sporting facilities including a bowls club, croquet club, public pool, canoe club and skate park.

Mr McAlister said initially the council's focus had been to upgrade the area around the CBD but it was now "very interested in looking at South Lismore”, with the potential for a new pedestrian bridge stretching the river to connect the two sides of the city.

He said the council had wanted to redevelop the region around the railway station ever since the land was transferred to its ownership, but since the flood and the "Helping Hands phenomenon” it was keen to make a submission to the State Government for the upgrade.

The Hurfurd site was another area proposed for residential development, including zoning for community precincts with cafes and shops.

The North Lismore Plateau is also expected to give a lift to North Lismore.

While it would require extra funds, Mr McAlister said Lismore "was not the only city to be built on a river basin and people want to live by the river”.

He said it was a matter of adapting and adopting best practice for future development.

Key findings from Engagement

  • Prominent themes that the community wanted introduced or enhanced in the Bridge to Bridge area:
  • Raising local awareness of river through view lines, access,recreation and food.
  • Balancing social uses with environmental protection.
  • A walking and cycling circuit.
  • Water based activities and tourism.
  • Increasing the sense of safety.
  • Social services and activities.
  • Markets and café on wharf.
  • An Aboriginal cultural centre.
  • A pedestrian bridge linking the CBD with South Lismore.
  • Interpretive signage.
  • Creative industries and residential development potential for Hurford site.
  • NORPA as the visual gateway to Lismore.
  • Water or nature play elements in Heritage park.

It is recommended that this report is used by Council as an advocacy tool to initiate future works in the area, gain funding through grants and budget processes, as well as influence and align other strategic projects within Council.

Other stakeholders in discussions included the CWA, Richmond River Historical Society, Lismore Environment Centre, Landcare, Ngulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council, Norco and Hurford.

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