Car spaces may become a walk
PRIVATE car parks near Lismore's flood levee may be lost to allow for grading of the riverbank and creating a public walkway.
The levee is being built 3m from the heritage-listed Lismore Club building, which adjoins Westlawn Finance.
Richmond River County Council wants to reshape around 80m of the river bank, including Westlawn Finance's private car parks.
"They have 23 car spaces and sheds on the parcel of land we need to work on," explained Richmond River County Council engineer Bill Moorehouse.
"We can leave about 12 or 13 car spaces but that means we have to find at least another 10 car spaces somewhere else to replace them."
He said the aim of the works is to make the banks more stable and physically attractive.
"We have to cut 2m of dirt off the bank, to flatten it out. The aim is to create a walkway along the riverbank like at Hensley's car park."
The funding to reshape the banks and create the walkway was provided to council under a disaster relief program. Work was to be completed by Christmas 2011, but the council has managed to extend the grant by 12 months.
Mr Moorehouse said it's critical that work begins soon to meet the deadline and consultations have begun with Lismore Council.
"The key point is we have a bit over a million dollars to do these riverbank works but they have to be finished by Christmas.
"The money will disappear by Christmas if we haven't sorted it out. So there is a need for action."
Lismore was a town built on the back of river transport, but Mr Moorehouse said this scenic aspect of the city has been under-utilised for too long.
"To my mind we have to tidy up the river. That's where we came from historically but we've turned our back on it and treated it like a rubbish dump." .
Towns such as Ballina and Evans Head have popular walkways along their rivers and Mr Moorehouse said there's no reason Lismore can't do the same.
"It would be a nice place to walk or have lunch by the river, which we've done with the existing levee."