LOVES THE REGION: Robert ’Big Rob’ Bou-Hamdan has been nominated for an Australia Day Community Service Award.
LOVES THE REGION: Robert ’Big Rob’ Bou-Hamdan has been nominated for an Australia Day Community Service Award. Cathy Adams

Big Rob’s in line for a gong

A LISMORE man who has been banned from council offices is in the running to receive an Australia Day award for services in the community presented by Mayor Jenny Dowell.

Lismore CBD business owner Robert 'Big Rob' Bou-Hamdan said he was shocked but honoured to receive a letter from council informing him he had been nominated.

I'm not trying to change everything; I am just trying to work within the current laws to make things better.

In Lismore City Council's Australia Day award nominees list, Mr Bou-Hamdan was nominated for caring deeply for the CBD and taking great interest in Lismore and surrounding communities.

"He keeps peace around Lismore on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and is a valuable community person for the CBD," the nominees list said.

"I think one of my employees Dot Giggins nominated me for the work I do around the streets at night, like helping people who are in the trouble and trying to prevent alcohol related violence," Mr Bou-Hamdan said.

"I'm not trying to change everything; I am just trying to work within the current laws to make things better."

Mr Bou-Hamdan said the reason he tries to prevent alcohol related incidents in the CBD and has campaigned to get the Lismore Lake pool re-opened was that he loves the region.

But he doesn't hold out any hope of winning the award.

"I will never win an award in this area ever because apparently I'm the most controversial and hated guy in Lismore because people don't like they way I do things or don't like my views."

A council spokeswoman said currently the ban extends to council offices at Lismore and Goonellabah, excluding council meetings.

The spokeswoman said a panel consisting of mayor Jenny Dowell and two independent community members who are rotated each year select the award winners.

"The winners are selected by looking at the criteria set out with the categories and how the nominee exemplifies those criteria," the spokeswoman said.



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