Council saves club from demolition
THE old Lismore Club has been saved from demolition.
After the longest debate in the almost three years of the current council, councillors narrowly voted to retain the club with Mayor Jenny Dowell twice using her casting vote to protect the heritage-listed building.
“I don’t like using my casting vote,” said Cr Dowell, “but I did it for two reasons: firstly I don’t like knocking down buildings and secondly there is a lot of social history involved in that building.”
Councillors were presented with four options to repair thecity’s damaged levee, with staff and engineers recommending Option Four – demolition of the club and construction of a new section of the levee where the building once stood.
During a series of four motions and amendments as councillors tried to keep Option Three alive – reconstructing the levee with pile footings around the club – CrVanessa Ekins said the red-brick building was too important to the city’s history and identity to lose.
“We are talking about demolishing a heritage building for a car park,” she said. “The comments we got on Facebook (from the public) about preserving this part of our history was really significant.”
A letter from the National Trust that was distributed to councillors at the meeting described the old Lismore Club building as an “outstanding local example of inter-war Georgian revival architecture, closely associated with distinguished local architect Colonel FJ Board”.
Cr John Chant, who is also the chairman of Richmond River County Council that maintains the levee, urged councillors to adopt Option Four, arguing it was the best engineering outcome and would also meet the government’s Christmas deadline to spend the $2.1 million grant.
He said the cost of saving the club could add up to $300,000 which council may have to fund.
However, as councillors Ekins and Gianpiero Battista searched for more options, it was Cr David Yarnall who amended Option 3 to create Option 7 with the club, now owned by Lismore Council, to be sold as soon as possible.