Petition to put $90m development back on table
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 more than 500 signatures in 24 hours.
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.
Local Nationals MPs Kevin Hogan and Thomas George launched the petition to highlight what Mr Hogan described as a "silent majority” who wanted to see the development progress.
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.
"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”.
"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,” he said.
Mr George 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 unanimously 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.
Lismore City councillors Elly Bird, Greg Bennett, and Nancy Casson were contacted for comment, but did not return calls.