Lismore caravan park may close

THE Lismore Tourist Caravan Park will be permanently closed in 18 months and long-term residents helped to find alternative accommodation under one of the proposals for its future to be considered at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The future of the van park has been under a cloud since it flooded last year and residents were forced to wade to safety through chest-deep flowing water.

“The caravan park has been problematic for a long time because of its location in the lowest part of the Lismore flood basin,” a staff report to the Lismore City Council says.

“It is regularly inundated with floodwaters during flood events and can also be subject to flash flooding.”

The report notes that although the park is supposed to be for tourists and short-term visitors, it has become the ‘CBD’s default low-cost housing option for economically disadvantaged community members’, with the departments of Housing and Community Services both directing clients to the park.

It currently has about 40 permanent residential sites and a waiting list of another 15 people wanting long-term accommodation.

The report examines three options: relocate the park, close it, or do nothing.

“Whilst the ramifications for people currently living in the park are a consideration, the matter of health and safety of patrons in flood events must be considered,” the report says, supporting its closure in 18 months.

In the meantime, it recommends council investigate ways to reduce water inundation and allow longer evacuation times.

While no formal public consultation on the park’s future has yet occurred, the Local Emergency Management Committee and the Floodplain Management Committee have both urged the council to either relocate or close the park.

The council scouted for alternative sites in 2005, but said it was problematic due to the need to find a suitable site close to the CBD and community acceptance of the new site.

However, apart from the lack of another site, relocation is the most expensive solution, estimated to cost more than $3.48 million.

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