By Darren Coyne
Revitalising Lismore by establishing a South Bank-type precinct along the Wilsons River, along with an Aboriginal cultural centre, walkways and enhanced open spaces, are just some of the visions contained in a report commissioned by the Lismore City Council.
Melbourne-based consultants Village Well have finalised the Lismore Bridge to Bridge Vision Report after engaging with local residents and key interest groups in November.
The Bridge to Bridge area refers to the section of the Wilsons River and land that stretches directly adjacent to the river to Molesworth Street (Lismore CBD) and Union Street (South Lismore) between the two bridges to the south and north sides of Lismore.
The land consists of a network of parks (Riverside Park, Heritage Park, Spinks Park), buildings and land (occupied by businesses and community organisations), NORPA and surrounding City Hall parkland and sporting facilities (Bowls Club, Croquet Club, Public Pool, Canoe Club and Skate Park).
The report, which is broken up into five sections, details how Lismore people imagine their city could develop into the future.
The first section, titled The Loop – Walking and Cycling Circuit, details how ‘a continuous pathway adjacent to the river between Ballina Road, Fawcett and Union Street bridges, activates surrounding key sights and helps form new rituals of for the community.
It recommends widening the pathway at at sections that are narrow, increasing visibility, and exploring the potential of a pedestrian bridge across the river, such as from Magellan Street to South Lismore.
By enhancing The Loop, regular events such as fun-runs, historic bike tours and planting days would take place.
The second section, the Revitalised Wharf Precint, would create a new riverside park in the area now being used for parking alongside the Laurie Allen Centre.
The wharf precinct would be transformed to promote water-based activities such s kayaking, rowing, fishing and tours, and would include the establishment of a cafe or restaurant on the upper floor of the Laurie Allen Centre.
A cafe or bar in the form of a barge or boat could be docked at the wharf, and the new park could be used for night markets or events.
The third section, Community Precinct, would connect the CBD and the wharf precinct by revitalising the transit centre courtyard and reusing the old gallery building as an Aboriginal cultural centre.
The fourth section, Heritage Park, NORPA and City Hall, and Riverside Park, proposes recreating Heritage Park as a ‘renewed and contemporary family-friendly destination that is a favourite place to play for toddlers and pre-teens’.
A cafe could be established at the Visitors Centre, or in the park between the carpark and Molesworth Street, and the Heritage Park itself would be refreshed with contemporary adventure and nature play equipment, along with water play items such as misters.
The old railway carriage in Heritage Park could be retrofitted for children’s parties, workshops and general community use, and the Visitors Centre would be transformed with a mural by a local artist.
The City Hall building and surrounds could be enhanced with projections and artworks, with some memorials relocated to Riverside Park, which would also be enhanced with barbecue areas and more shade.
The fifth section, A new Vision for South Lismore, would revitalise the Lismore Railway Station and the creative industries at the old Hurfords site.
With a pedestrian bridge linking the CBD to South Lismore, the area of land between the Wilsons River and Union Street could be transformed into a ‘South Bank’ style precinct with a mix of median density housing, new parklands along the river, and facilities for caravan and camper van owners.
The former railway line would be developed as part of the regional rail trail and the railway station could be used to host food and cultural events. The Hurfords site would be developed as an arts and industry precinct, with open spaces for cultural events.