VISION: Delegates at the 2017 Asia Pacific Cities Summit.
VISION: Delegates at the 2017 Asia Pacific Cities Summit. Contributed

Should Lismore be working more closely with Brisbane?

What is your vision for Lismore, for our region? What changes do you want to see that makes Lismore city, as the regional centre, somewhere you want to live? 

Those are the questions I kept asking myself as I sat listening to many interesting sessions at the Asia Pacific Cities Summit in Brisbane this week. Leaders from our slice of the planet came together to, not only provide answer these questions, but acknowledge that the most important part is asking these questions of our citizens and put them at the heart of change. 

We all generally want change, as much we complain about it. We actually need change. For future generational sustainability, we need to find better ways to do most things we acknowledge as important to human health and well-being. 

For me as mayor of Lismore, it is finding a way to make Lismore a part of that solution. What do we need to make the place we live a sustainable city in 2050? Is it double the population so that people are close to services? Is it doubling our agricultural production so we have better food and job outcomes? Can we do both and if we do, what does it look like? 

How connected should we be to rest of the region or to Brisbane and South East Queensland? We want to be more independent for our food, water, energy and so much more, but people have always travelled to cities for so much. So what do we do to work with Brisbane, but not for Brisbane? 

I have so many questions and I really want answers from you. This is your city and your home. This region should be defined by us. Don't get bogged down on today's problem, as we will solve them with the answers we find together on these bigger questions.

Mayor Isaac Smith is a columnist in The Lismore Echo.