Lismore mayor Isaac Smith has learnt a valuable lesson this week. Don’t frack with the nurses.
Following reports that nurses at the Lismore Base Hospital were set to unleash ‘a media campaign’, Cr Smith yesterday lobbed an olive branch in the form of free parking in some streets around the hospital until the issue is formally resolved.
Echonetdaily reported on Tuesday that members of the Lismore Base Hospital branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association were fed up with what they perceived as a lack of action on parking around the hospital.
Residents had also had enough, with reports of cars being damaged and angry notes left on windscreens.
After nine months in the job, the nurses believed the mayor had failed to deliver on a promise to change parking in Hunter Street to $2 a day.
Cr Smith later defended himself in a Facebook post, saying he had moved a mayoral minute at the November meeting to make Dalziel Street $2 a day and at ‘no point in the past six months has that $2 car park been full’.
He also pointed out that Lismore is the only council in NSW that provides cheap parking to staff and visitors to the hospital.
Yesterday however, Cr Smith emailed Shaen Spingall, the president of the Lismore Base Hospital branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, promising free parking in some areas requested.
‘This will mean there is unrestricted parking on Uralba street between Hunter street and Diadem street, as well as unrestricted parking on Hunter street between Uralba street and Orion street from Monday June 26th until council approves changes to the parking after the July meeting,’ he wrote.
Once approved by the council, the changes would go on public display for more community feedback before final adoption.
Mr Springall welcomed the news, saying ‘that should be a great help’.
‘I’m not sure of the actual figures but that should free up two to three hundred car parking spaces,’ he said.
For anyone thinking that will be the end of the issue, Cr Smith pointed out that the health department also needed to address the parking issue.
‘The hospital will have hundreds more staff coming on board as the new building starts to get used,’ Cr Smith said.
‘The hospital needs to fix its own on site parking, such as in hunter street where a whole lot sits empty. We also need Health to push forward with the second stage of the multi story car park in the very near future. Before we all find ourselves back in the same situation again!’