Backlash blocks Lismore Lions fountain destruction plan
LISMORE'S much-loved Lions fountain seemed destined for destruction but now appears to be all but guaranteed a future.
Lismore City Council's plan to remove the historic but rundown monument outside Lismore City Hall and replace it with a modern, Lions club-themed artwork caused such a public outcry that council reversed its plans.
A total of 650 submissions - 615 collected by Lions club members - were made against the proposal.
Only one submission was in favour of the fountain's removal.
There were also three submissions which argued for a compromise, to both restore the fountain and build the artwork alongside.
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said the suggested compromise would form the basis of the recommendation to be put to councillors in December, when they vote on the matter.
"Right from the start, when we realised how upset people were, we decided to try to preserve the fountain," Cr Dowell said.
"Staff wanted to have some assurances that the Lions club would be happy giving the money they had collected for the restoration of the fountain and the associated new artworks.
"We now have a resolution from the Lions club they are happy to do that."
Lions clubs had previously raised $64,000 which was expected to cover the restoration of the monument.
The council has a further $63,700 which must be spent on a new public artwork as part of the Federal Government-funded Lismore City Hall refurbishment.
"We believe we've got a good outcome that can go ahead," Cr Dowell said.
"The result will be a restoration of the fountain plus mosaics on concrete benches or seats ... which tell the story of Lions in its first 70 years.
"I have every confidence that council will endorse that."
Lismore City Lions president Nancy Casson, who presented the 615 submissions to the council, said she was "thrilled" with the public support.
"This is obviously what the community of Lismore are wanting," she said.
Built in 1967, the fountain was a joint Lions project which celebrated Lismore's role in the founding of the first Lions club in Australia in 1947.