Lismore council says no to $90m shopping square plan

The proposed expansion of the Lismore Square Shopping Centre has been rejected by a majority of councillors.

The proposed expansion of the Lismore Square Shopping Centre has been rejected by a majority of councillors.

The Lismore City Council has rejected a $90 million proposal to expand the Lismore Square Shopping Square in a move described by Page MP Kevin Hogan as ‘woeful’.

But already it’s understood that Cr Gianpiero Battista is preparing a recisission motion, meaning that the issue will come back before the council at the next meeting.

Mr Hogan said the ‘massive investment’ would have been beneficial for the city as it recovers from the March flood.

‘We are still recovering and rebuilding from the flood and we had an investor who wanted to put $90 million in our city which would have created many jobs,’ Mr Hogan said.

‘If we want to maintain our status of a regional capital we need to have investments like this one. This would have attracted more shoppers to our town and the CBD.

‘This is not, an either or, we need a healthy CBD and shopping centre.

‘Many leave our region, and indeed drive through it to the Gold Coast for the shopping centre experience.

‘The $90 million expansion was going to better link the CBD to the Square.

‘This is going to cost us jobs and hold back Lismore.’

A majority of Lismore councillors didn’t see it that way, with Crs Gianpiero Battista, Neil Marks, Darlene Cook, Bill Moorhouse and Isaac Smith voting for the motion, while Crs Nancy Casson, Adam Guise, Vanessa Ekins, Eddie Lloyd, Greg Bennett and Elly Bird voted against.

The major concerns raised were the loss of parklands as the proposal would require about 4 hectares of parkland earmarked for the Lismore Park proposal. Also, an expanded Shopping Square would place further pressure on the CBD, which is struggling to recover from the flood.

McGonaghy’s managing director, Gary McConaghy told the council that engineering issues meant it would not be feasible to expand the shopping centre upwards.

Leading the charge agains the proposal, Cr Eddie Lloyd said it would be ‘heartless’ to expand the square at the expense of the CBD.

Cr Lloyd said the community had put its trust in the council to move forward with the Imagine Lismore vision and regional parkland masterplan.

‘To abandon these plans and to instead do a deal with a private company to handover community land would be an unforgivable betrayal of that trust,’ she said.

Mayor Isaac Smith was disappointed in losing the vote to explore the option, saying Lismore had lost the opportunity to consult with the community over the proposal.

In other matters considered last night, the council voted to replace the opening prayer with a new reflective statement and a moments silence.

The council also voted unanimously to explore options to keep the Lismore Lake topped up, possibly with water from the South Lismore Treatment Plant, and to look at an MOU with a local Landcare group.

As well, the Speedway will be required to close 30 minutes earlier, with the flexibility to go longer in extraordinary circumstances.




6 responses to “Lismore council says no to $90m shopping square plan”

  1. col baker says:

    Council are still living in the dark ages.
    I have had experience with a business D.A with Council and found it very difficult.
    We need to move forward and encourage new business into Lismore to create growth employment and lead the way as the regions center

  2. Ron Cahill says:

    Sure to raise a fuss with some of Lismore’s fickle constituents but they can’t blame Country Labor for this, Darlene Cook and Isaac Smith voted for the motion with Eddie Lloyd against.

  3. Storeman Norman says:

    This development would be the death knell for the Lismore CBD. It’s telling that Kevin Hogan – who was MIA after the floods, and whose Government had nothing to offer local businesses except more debt – now wants to executioner who finishes the job off. An expanded Square would not grow jobs it would simply move retail spending from one part of Lismore to another, and damage locally-owned businesses and land-owners in the process. And Lismore residents were expected to not only cop it, but to give up their precious public open space as well. Oh and guess what, ratepayers can also pay to re-route Brewster Street through the middle of the park!

    All up this proposal would have been a complete and utter disaster for Lismore. Thank God the Council has the kahunas to stand up to the pressure from the developer and his business mates. And Kevin Hogan – you’ve made it clear that when it comes to a battle between a wealthy property developer and the community, you’re not on our side. We won’t forget.

  4. Liora Claff says:

    Thank you Lismore City Council for sanity prevailing over greed. It’s places like these shopping malls that homogenise the community and make one place look like any other. Sterile spaces, high rents and no notice boards make mall a place to escape from the heat but offers no real meeting space and Lismore will become like any place in any urban centre. You’ll find the same shops, the same choices and small business squeezed out by horrendous rents. So different from the diversity of town.

  5. Lorraine cottam says:

    I think the extension of the shopping square is badly needed, I am only one person that goes up north to shop, friends & family all go north too.
    Lismore is loosing out on a lot of money.

  6. R J Poole says:

    The proposed purchase of public land for Lismore Shopping Square’s expansion has NOT been finalised. We don’t know if this purchase will cover the infrastructure costs which will be borne by council – roads, drainage, landscaping.

    In all likelihood, it will cost council (rate payers) more to sell and develop the land than leaving it as is.

    The much touted amount of $90 million for this expansion will NOT accrue to local construction firms, but will go to businesses based in Queensland.

    Likewise, the extra shop spaces made available by the expansion will go to chain stores, NOT local businesses.

    This is a bad deal for Lismore and one that actively draws people away from the CBD.

    We can do better for ourselves than this. We can build upon existing strengths and take pride in our cultural identity by emphasising the importance of the CBD and it’s cultural heritage.

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