Its official: Lismore flood levee is fixed
LISMORE'S flood levee repairs are at last complete.
Local MPs Janelle Saffin and Thomas George alongside Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell inspected the finished product today.
It took almost three years and $2.8 million in state and federal emergency relief funding - obtained, and then extended, by the two MPs.
It forced Lismore City Council through a dramatic decision-making process in which the Lismore Club, which sits a few metres from the new levee wall, almost faced demolition.
Cr Dowell avoided that prospect with a casting vote last year.
But before work could start on the levee reconstruction, a heritage application needed to be made to demolish the 1970s extension at the back of the club.
Bill Moorhouse, Richmond River County Council engineer, said the actual engineering work was the easy part - it only took about five months.
Mr Moorhouse said the project's biggest challenge was the sheer number of government approvals required.
"The planning, construction, and rehabilitation work has taken nearly three years, but this vital part of Lismore's infrastructure is complete once again," Mr Moorhouse said.
The final phase of the project included stabilisation and landscaping of the river bank.
The new footpath on the bottom of the bank is underpinned by 60 concrete piles, 12 m deep, guaranteeing the banks security against future flood damage.
Lismore councillor and RRCC deputy chairman Graham Meineke said council was now eyeing off the prospect of extending the footpath and bank restoration right through to the old rowing club 200 metres to the south.
"This is probably reorientating Lismore to the river… its fabulous when you walk along the edge, with a cool breeze coming off the river," Cr Meineke said.
But the bill for that project would need to be split three ways, with council coughing up a third.
Cr Meineke stressed it was long-term project.