City shelter is one step closer
IF LISMORE mayor Merv King can rely on any of his fellow councillors to support his homeless shelter proposal it's Jenny Dowell. Cr Dowell is a member of the Caring Community Action Group which has been campaigning for a homeless shelter in Lismore since 2003. The mayor announced on Friday he would move at an August 14 meeting for the council to begin%negotiations for a lease of State%Government-owned land in South Lismore. He said he had already received 'in principle' support from the State for the Norco Lane site to be leased by the council for a homeless shelter. Cr Dowell said she did not expect any opposition to the mayor's proposal. "What we come up with won't meet individual wish lists," she said. "But I would expect all councillors will support this first proposal." Lismore Soup Kitchen Committee vice-president Margaret Lord said the mayor's announcement had given the city's homeless population a renewed sense of hope. "Everyone's very pleased and I'm overwhelmed," she said. "It's been a cry from their hearts for a lot of years, and to know that something is finally happening makes us all so pleased. "My smile has become permanently fixed on my dial." Cr Dowell yesterday met the CCAG to discuss how to spend $20,000 allocated from the council's latest budget to 'progressing options' for a homeless shelter in Lismore. She said the group wanted the money to be spent on a project brief and a management plan for the%facility. "We need to do that first because we can't actually design a building without knowing how it will be managed," Cr Dowell said. "After we get that plan we'll need to have a drawing of something to take to the Federal Government to ask for funding." Cr King also said the council would need a funding partner to help build and run the shelter. He said it was too early to know how much funding would be needed, but Cr Dowell said CCAG believed $1.5 million would build the shelter and $500,000 a year would run it. "Those figures are modest," Cr Dowell said. "We don't want a grand palace. We want something attainable that will last into the future."