Lismore Chamber of Commerce co-president Sarah Smith and Lismore City Council general manger Shelley Oldham turn the first sod of the $8.2 million flood mitigation project in South Lismore.
Lismore Chamber of Commerce co-president Sarah Smith and Lismore City Council general manger Shelley Oldham turn the first sod of the $8.2 million flood mitigation project in South Lismore. Aisling Brennan

Lismore breaks ground on flood mitigation project

WORKS are set to begin this week on Lismore's much-needed flood mitigation project, as businesses continue to knock on the door of Lismore City Council begging for flood-free land.

The state government $8.2 million funded project will excavate 410,000 cubic metres of soil, allowing water to flow from Leycester Creek behind the airport to re-enter the river system below the city.

Lismore MP Thomas George and Nationals candidate for Lismore Austin Curtin joined Lismore City Council Mayor Isaac Smith, LCC general manager Shelley Oldham, Lismore Chamber of Commerce co-president Sarah Smith and Lismore Citizen's Flood Review Group spokeswoman Beth Trevan to turn the first sod of the project at Caniaba St in South Lismore on Monday.

Mr Curtin said the project would open up a lot of opportunity for businesses wanting to expand in the Lismore area.

"This is something that this community has cried out for for generations, it's breaking new ground, creating investment in this town and putting confidence back into business across north and south Lismore and the CBD,” he said.

"This is stage one of a multi-stage plan. We'll be moving 410,000 cubic metres of soil from high points in the flood plain channel to create flood-free land inside of the levy bank on Caniaba St.

"It's land that businesses are crying out for in Lismore.

"There are a number of businesses in discussions with council at the moment and new businesses knocking on the door of council at the moment looking for industrial land because they want to grow here and they want to put jobs into this community.”

Ms Oldham confirmed at least four businesses a week have been contacting council in search of flood-free land in the Lismore area in the hopes of opening a new business.

Ms Smith said the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, will give the business community a big boost of confidence.

"A lot of people have been nervous about investing into the area and this will be a booster for businesses and residents alike,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms Trevan said there was still plenty more to do to ensure Lismore was protected from future major flooding.

"This is an exciting start for the development of a flood plain situation,” she said.

"We're really happy that it's the beginning but we will continue to push because we see this really as only stage one and we'll be working hard into the future for stage two and even stage three.”

Mr George, who is retiring after holding the seat of Lismore for 20-years, said he was pleased he was leaving the region protected.

"I'm proud to be here this morning, within the last week of winding up this tenure of being the Member for Lismore, to celebrate the sod turning of this $8.2 million project, which is the commencement of assisting Lismore becoming flood-free,” he said.