SES goals for upcoming Lismore flood forums
RE-JIGGING the format of post-flood community forums is hoped to capture key concerns of flood-affected communities, Tweed Richmond SES said.
The SES will be hosting nine meetings across the North Coast in the coming weeks with a Kyogle meeting to be determined.
Unlike previous post-flood forums, SES community engagement co-ordinator Janet Pettit said instead of talking to the community, emergency services and other relevant agencies will be on hand to listen and discuss issues with small groups and one-on-one.
She said the SES have hired a specialised contractor called Crisis Ready that plans to group residents relevant to their concerns with mediators to keep conversations focused.
"We are looking to see what we can do to move forward. We need them to help us,” Ms Petitt said.
It is anticipated the refreshed forum structure will support the SES develop solutions to better flood-prone communities prepare, respond and recover from future events.
Ms Pettit is confident flood coupled with the post-flood forums will create "a bigger awareness” about flood preparation in the future.
"Mother Nature really threw it at us ... we had to do what we could in the situation,” she said.
"(The forums are) the beginning step to getting the information and re-engaging with the community to prepare, respond and recover.”
Recovery coordinator, Euan Ferguson will be accompanying emergency services at all three sessions in Lismore this weekend.
In his experience, Mr Ferguson said the forums can be "quite cathartic” for those affected by the disaster by enabling them "to air their concerns and hear directly from agencies”.
"However there needs to be an appreciation that no organisation is perfect or always has the perfect answer to everything,” Mr Ferguson said.
"But these forums, when facilitated well, allow people to focus on the issues, agree on priorities, and move forward together.”
Flood community meetings
Lismore CBD and East Lismore
Friday, May 12: Lismore Workers Club, 6pm.
North and South Lismore
Saturday, May 13: South Lismore Bowling Club, 11am and 2pm sessions.
Billinudgel/Sth Golden Beach/Ocean Shores
Sunday, May 28: Pacific Room, Ocean Shores Country Club
Burringbar/Mooball/Stokers Siding/Crabbes Creek
Monday, May 29: Burringbar Hall, 6pm.