An artist's impression of Lismore's proposed
An artist's impression of Lismore's proposed "destination" park.

“Destination” park plan leads busy Lismore council meeting

LISMORE City Council's meeting last night saw several important developments for the Lismore urban area, including a public exhibition for a major public park in the heart of the CBD and an unrelated move to rezone several small parks around Lismore to allow residential development.

Headlining the council meeting was the council's vote 8-3 to publicly exhibit the Lismore Park Browns Creek plan which would see a "destination" park for the town replace three sporting grounds and the Lismore City Lights Tennis Club.

The $5 million proposal features a pedestrian boulevard, landscaped terraces, and a cafe and playground, but would require external funding to proceed.

A series of ponds designed to improve water quality in Browns Creek, which runs through the proposed park area, have also been wrapped into the plan and could be paid for immediately out of the council's stormwater fund.

Public opposition for the proposal - which would see Heaps, Jolly, and Humbley Ovals removed - has been loud from the sports community, with local sporting identity Barry Davidson speaking out against the proposal during the public access session.

The council was not united in approving the park to go on public exhibition, with councillor Matthew Scheibel citing potential negative effects on Lismore's traditional strength in organised sports.

The plan will go on public exhibition for 28 days.


Rezoning of Small Parks

SEVENTEEN small parks around Lismore will be reclassified and rezoned to allow them to be sold and developed for residential development after council voted to approve the staff recommendation.

Council has previously identified that there was a proliferation of small underused parks in the Lismore urban area which burdened the council's maintenance budget.


Review of dual occupancy council contributions

An urgent review of council's policy on development costs borne by homeowners building "granny flats" or dual occupancy properties will be undertaken.

Cr Simon Clough argued that Lismore should follow Byron Shire's lead in making affordable housing initiatives more affordable for homeowners.

Unlike Byron Shire, where dual occupancy development are allowed without a substantial upfront costs, Lismore LGA ratepayers must pay a nominal $20,000 contribution to council to build a "granny flat" as part of the council's section 94 contributions.

At this stage the review's findings are expected to be delivered to the council in a workshop in September.