Site found for Lismore homeless shelter
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
LISMORE mayor Merv King says the city will have a homeless shelter by March 2008.
Cr King has identified a site for a shelter in South Lismore's Norco Lane on land owned by State rail authorities.
He will move a mayoral minute at the council's August 14 meeting calling for his fellow councillors to back his plan to negotiate to lease the land from the State Government.
"I can't imagine councillors will knock this back," he said.
"It's something different groups have wanted for a long time, but there has never been a location now there is.
"There's still a long way to go, but with a bit of goodwill I believe we'll have a shelter before next winter."
Cr King said he had already spoken with State Government representatives and received 'in principle' support to lease the land for a shelter.
Once negotiations were done the council would need a funding partner, such as a government department or other organisation, to build it.
Council general manager Paul O'Sullivan said he did not expect funding to be a problem.
"The money to build it, I think would be forthcoming without much difficulty," Mr O'Sullivan said.
"It's not going to be The Ritz. The objective is to get something in place that is affordable and will give people a roof over their head as soon as possible."
The council will also approach organisations to find managers for the facility.
"We need a group or organisation with the expertise and legal ability to manage the shelter," said Cr King.
Mr O'Sullivan said plans for the building would need to go through a standard development application process, but he did not expect any hurdles.
"Council hasn't had any complaints about the soup kitchen, so it's a good sign the activity there causes no drama in the neighbourhood," he said.