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Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

Lismore council to consider $90m shopping square expansion

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Lismore council will consider a request next week to expand the Lismore Shopping Square. Picture :visitlismore.com.au
Lismore council will consider a request next week to expand the Lismore Shopping Square.
Picture :visitlismore.com.au

The Lismore City Council has been asked to consider a $90 million expansion of the Lismore Shopping Square, but already there are fears it could kill off business in the CBD.

Lismore mayor Isaac Smith has asked for feedback on a request from developers, McConaghy Properties, for the council to enter into a memorandum of understanding, and to delay the proposed redevelopment of the controversial Lismore Park proposal.

Cr Smith said although there was not a let of detail in the request, it would be expected that any expansion would go across Brewster Street onto the disused hockey fields.

‘It can not go in any other direction, including up, due to a number of restrictions,’ he said in a Facebook post.

He listed as ‘major pros’, the proposed injection of $90 million into the Lismore economy, with the creation of construction jobs and ongoing employment.

Also, money raised by the sale of land would allow the council to invest in other projects such as the Lismore Park proposal, CBD improvements, riverbank development and sporting facilities.

An expanded shopping centre would draw more shoppers to Lismore, he said.

But the drawbacks would be a loss of public land, and the potential negative impact on some CBD businesses if retail shops were duplicated in the proposed expansion.

Already Cr Eddie Lloyd has signalled her opposition to the proposal, saying any expansion of the square would have a huge impact on the CBD, which still had 76 shops empty after the March flood.

She outlined eight reasons why the expansion should not go ahead.

1. Our CBD has copped enough of an impact with 76 vacancies since the flood. An expansion will have a huge impact on the CBD and will see the end of more businesses who cannot compete with franchised stores.
2. The developer, McConaughy Properties will not disclose the tenant mix until after a DA is approved.
3. Don’t be fooled into thinking this expansion means we will be getting shops like DJ’s, Myers, Country Road, Witchery and the like. We know that those shops are NOT INTERESTED in coming to Lismore. If they were, surely they would be here by now!!! There have been vacancies in the CBD and Square for years yet none of those styled shops have come here.
4. There is the very real risk that more CBD shops will move into the square thus emptying and shelling out our CBD even more.
5. The expansion will mean selling off our community land, and will chomp up one third of our Lismore Park. This is YOUR land, and we shouldn’t be flogging off public, community land to developers.
6. The profits from the new shops, which will likely be multinational chains and franchises and such profits will NOT stay in our town. The only benefit is staff employed by these franchises/retail stores.
7. This expansion will not benefit our town, having more of the same chains in the square is not going to draw more people to the area.
8. Don’t be fooled into believing that the only way we can get Lismore Park is by selling off this land. There are grants available that council can and will be applying for.

The matter will be considered at next week’s meeting of the council in Goonellabah.


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  1. As if the flood wasn’t bad enough the proposed expanded shopping center will finish the CBD, It is the Mayors role is to protect the social fabric of the town not rip it up by supporting proposals like this.

  2. Regardless whether the expansion of the Square goes ahead, retail businesses there and in the CBD will continue to die thanks to the increasing use of online shopping.

    Lismore does not need the white elephant that an extended Square would become, and to sell off public recreation land to any developer would be socially criminal.

    Say NO to McConaughy Properties!

  3. I think you mean that Cr Eddie Lloyd outlined “eight reasons why the expansion should NOT go ahead”.
    The 9th could be to look at how the Bay City shopping centre in Geelong, which turned into a Westfield, completely strangled the major shopping precinct of Ryrie St and around Malop St, and how the city of Geelong has been struggling to re-vitalise the CBD ever since! And that’s just an economic reason – nothing to do with catastrophic floods!

  4. Pete, please note that the Mayor did not say he supports the proposal. As a Mayor of a major City, he has to consider pros and cons of any proposed development. Mayor Smith is asking for community input to enable him to gauge community feeling about the proposal

  5. Most international cities (ie. Barcelona, Paris) have an ‘old’ quarter and a ‘new’ quarter – the ‘old’ has the vintage shops, alleyways, laneways, quirky cafes, bookshops, speciality shops, bars, restaurants, galleries and the new is similar to the Square. Fortunately, we already have a lot of the ‘old’ happening!!….along with the New gallery/Cafe/Quad piazza space just about to take off this Summer. But there is so much room for more.

    Inject as much money as possible into the ‘old’ quarter too, and this will really put Lismore more on the map for visitors, even if a Square expansion goes ahead.

    The two can easily sit side by side with a progressive attitude from Council, shop owners in the CBD, and really good promotion.
    Neither Sqaure nor CBD are better than the other, just different…. that’s all.

  6. Lismore is ‘a major city’ & the city centre is the heart of the matter. Economic reasoning will show the ‘glow’
    of the multinationals and the disappearing of profits off-shore. Think! Focus on genuine small businesses
    so that what is spent will stay [not stray]. Wasn’t there talk [yes, I refer to the flood] or raising houses higher
    in key areas? Work on that. Anything other is a cop-out.

  7. I don’t go there now (except for car boot market) and would not DEFINITELY not go there if it was enlarged at the expense of the CBD businesses – they have my fullest support. The benefit of CBD businesses is they offer something unique that doesn’t look, feel and sound like every other shopping mall everywhere in the world. Why should the fat cats get fatter?

  8. Not that long ago a lot of people in Ballina thought that the Ballina Central and Ballina Fair developments would suck the life out of its CBD.
    Quite the opposite. A major revamp of its CBD coupled with apartment living and better linkage to the riverfront has been a big winner for Ballina as a whole. Lismore needs the same. The big problem is that the Lismore CBD infrastructure dollar is spread so thinly that continually applying cheap paint and stencilled concrete over everything is seen as the only affordable solution to keep the place on life support. Take a stroll around the place and it looks like a dirty painters drop sheet. Lismore needs to regain its regional city status by reinventing the CBD similar to what Ballina has, because if we listen to people who oppose any investment dollars in Lismore, then the place really will go down the gurgler.

  9. Only one rational comment amongst a mob of ignorant, ill-considered and irrational opinions. Any money spent in Lismore is well spent. The expansion of the square is not being funded with council money. We need to encourage investment in our city to reinvigorate the whole region and to create more employment opportunities. All dissenters of this proposal may not have noticed how close the square is to the CBD. And imagine some council money being spent to create a family friendly green corridor linking the CBD to the square.

  10. It think expanding would be good how weather drives people to the shops and we certainly have that plus parking seems to be getting worse especially at Christmas what about the demographics is the area getting bigger young people love to shop a lot of people go to the gold coast to shop do the rescurch first


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