Diana Roberts in the Nimbin Community Centre grounds.
Diana Roberts in the Nimbin Community Centre grounds. The Northern Star

School block fight centres on peace deal

A DECADE-old battle to have the old Nimbin school site handed to the community has been revived by a stand-off with the Lismore City Council over the neighbouring Peace Park.

The Nimbin Community Centre had expected the site to be officially handed over on July 1 after 10 years of work to get the site, once occupied by Nimbin Central School.

Nimbin Community Centre Incorporated secretary Diana Roberts said the community had paid out a loan of about $400,000 to the council and had spent the last six months preparing new leases for the 19 tenants in the centre.

Tenants include community radio station NIM-FM, the Aquarius Foundation, an Aboriginal cultural centre, Family Day Care and a parenting support service.

However, part of the deal is that the community centre takes over responsibility for the neighbouring Peace Park.

At a council meeting last month, Ms Roberts requested the handover of the park, which is a separate title, be delayed for another 12 months while the centre worked out the best way to deal with public liability insurance.

“The park is a separate issue and shouldn't be tying up the community centre,” she said. “This has been a tortuous process, even though we've done everything they wanted us to do.”

Peace Park is a near one-hectare area of land that contains a children's playground and a skate park that had to be fenced off, and remains closed because of noise complaints.

A report from council staff said splitting the transfer of lands into two separate transactions would effectively leave the council with the full liability for the skate park.

“Council has supported the project and facilitated the construction ... on the understanding its risks would be only for the period until transfer of ownership to (the community centre),” the report said.

The report suggests the proposal by the community centre 'would potentially allow them to not ever take ownership of the land and leave council exposed to all of the risks'.



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