By Darren Coyne
A Lismore councillor is trying to stop the removal of an historic fountain outside Lismore City Hall that celebrates Lismore as the home to the Lions movement in Australia.
Cr Greg Bennett has lodged a notice of motion calling on the council to negotiate with the Lions ‘with a view to facilitating the restoration of the Lions Fountain located at City Hall’.
Cr Bennett notes that the first Lions club in Australia opened in Lismore in 1947, and the fountain was built twenty years later to commemorate that event.
He said 2017 would make 70 years of Lions in Australia, and 100 years internationally.
‘This fountain has significant heritage value and should be restored and preserved,’ he said.
But in a separate report to councillors, staff have recommended that the fountain be removed and replaced with a new public artwork, which incorporates elements of the old fountain.
Staff point out that the recent upgrade of the city hall triggered funding for a public art project to the value of $58,700.
They said a consultation group that included district and local representatives of Lions had confirmed that the fountain should be removed, and that the replacement be a combination of public artwork and Lions commemoration.
The group also confirmed that existing plaques on the fountain be reused, and that project be completed in time for the 70th anniversary of Lions.
The art project would cost $127,700, with $64,000 from the Lions, $5000 left over from the city hall upgrade, and the $58,700 contribution triggered by the upgrade.
In a separate report, councillors are being asked to consider changing the way Lismore City Hall is managed.
‘For more than 20 years, Lismore City Hall has been managed by NORPA (Northern Rivers Performing Arts), via a formal contract with Council,’ the report says.
‘Following the $6 million refurbishment of City Hall in 2013, the development of a City Hall Business Plan, and the current contract ending in December 2015, the current system of management has been reviewed and a new arrangement is now proposed.’
‘The notion of a cultural alliance partner to manage City Hall and deliver a high quality cultural program from City Hall was discussed at a council briefing on 18 August 2015.
‘This type of partnering arrangement is unusual in local government and may be a pioneer project in Australia. ‘
Staff have recommended calling for expressions of interest from potential ‘cultural alliance partners’.
The council meets next Tuesday.