Old club building faces demolition
THE historic Lismore Club may be demolished as soon as October to allow for the repair of the city’s damaged levee before the next flood season.
This is the most viable option to repair the levee presented to Lismore councillors at a hastily-convened workshop on Wednesday night.
The presentation by Richmond River County Council, which maintains the levee, presented four options to councillors, but county council chairman and Lismore City councillor John Chant said there was only one real option.
“Demolishing the club is the most viable,” he said. “Going through the other three (options) there are so many hassles, especially over the parking.
“Basically, which ever way we went, we ran into this problem all the time.”
The large crack in the levee was discovered in February last year behind the old Lismore Club building, which now houses Newtrain. It is feared the levee may collapse into the Wilsons River as floodwater rise and potentially inundate the CBD.
Since the crack was discovered the council has received government funding of $600,0000 to repair it, including funds to purchase the building and demolish the 1970sextension at the rear.
However, this plan – known as Option 1 – and included a land swap of garages with the company that owns the Westlawn building, was scuttled when it was realised in May the land had the wrong classification, making it illegal.
At Wednesday night’s workshop an ashen-faced mayor Jenny Dowell asked for an extensive report examining all the four options in time for July’s council meeting.
“It looks like it’s going to be Option Four,” Cr Dowell said. “(But) the thing that I am aware of is that it’s old and there is a lot of history there.
“Our community has a great deal of connection to that building. If we make a decision to go down any of these paths, particularly Option 4, we need to have a very clear message to the community why and what we considered because there will be an outcry and we saw that when there was talk of knocking down C Block.
“No one wants to see a building knocked down and all other options have to be exhausted.”
Still, due to the urgent need of beginning work before Christmas when the State Government may cut funding, preliminary work for Options Three and Four will proceed, including an application to demolish the historic club, until a final decision is made.
The county council’s head engineer, Bill Moorehouse, stressed the importance of making the right decision quickly.
“We are already well and truly outside our timelines,” he said. “We are also into flood season (for completion). If we do flood I don’t want people to say we have stood around with our hands in our pockets for two years while we talked about the flood levee and didn’t fix it.”