500 signatures on Lismore Square petition
Update 2pm: A JOINT petition calling for Lismore City Council to reconsider its "atrocious" decision to knock back a potential $90 million expansion of Lismore Shopping Square has received almost 500 signatures since this morning.
Local Nationals MPs Kevin Hogan and Thomas George and Lismore Chamber of Commerce vice president Andrew Gordon launched the petition to highlight what Mr Hogan described as a "silent majority" who wanted to see the development progress.
Earlier this month a narrow 6-5 majority of councillors voted to reject a non-binding memorandum of understanding to explore the project further, going against a staff recommendation and mayor Isaac Smith's position.
Not mincing words, Mr Hogan dubbed the decision "atrocious".
"I will not stand by as a federal member and see a local council make a decision that is keeping growth and jobs from our region," he said.
"We want them to reconsider this because we want them to say yes to investment and yes to jobs.
"This is sending a message to people who may invest in or town to say 'stay away' and that's a very dangerous signal to send.
"For Lismore to retain its regional city (status), it needs to attract investment, it needs to attract growth."
Mr George said it "beggars belief" that the councillors would reject the proposal without the "full facts on the table".
"I can't believe that this decision has been made. Where would Lismore be as a city without the Lismore Square development?""
"Lismore City Council are the first ones to knock on my door when they want funding... they want me to make representations on their behalf, well they have to be serious about being a regional city, the hub of the Northern Rivers."
"What signal does it send out when your turning back in excess of a $90 million development without knowing what's in the proposal?"
But Mr George also warned a "clear majority" would now be required to encourage the developer, McConaghy Properties, to come back to the table, requiring a "significant shift in the vote".
Lismore Chamber of Commerce vice president Andrew Gordon said three quarters of chamber members had indicated in surveys they were in favour of development.
He said the notion that the CBD businesses wholesale rejected the idea had no substance.
The Lismore business community was "evolving" and any expansion of the Square was a legitimate part of that evolution.
The council vote also contradicts the sentiment of The Lismore Prospectus, a document the council released in 2015 designed "to make investors and governments sit up and take notice" of the city's potential.
Original story: PAGE MP Kevin Hogan has this morning announced he has started a petition, calling on Lismore City Council to reverse its decision to knock back the $90 million expansion of Lismore Shopping Square.
"The petition states that, to retain its status as a regional capital, Lismore needs to embrace investments like this," Mr Hogan said.
"It will mean more jobs for locals.
"It will better link the CBD to the Square and encourage more people to shop local, rather than travel to the Gold Coast."
The petition is on change.org.
It already has 63 supporters, with comments including:
Darren Butcher: "I believe we need to consider ALL investment and development."
Dylan Keehn: "Lismore would be stupid to pass this up, it's time to move forward!"
Anne Dries: "I wish to see at least a consultation study agreed to."
Mr Hogan will officially launch the petition later this morning with Lismore MP Thomas George and the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.