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Byron Shire
April 15, 2024

A sparkle of colour in Lismore CBD

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An extra splash of sparkle in Keen Street Lismore. Photo supplied

Lismore CBD has a little extra sparkle of colour today as the first of two ‘parklets’ to help encourage people to visit, was installed in Keen Street this morning.

Lismore City Council’s Manager of Economic Development Tina Irish said the project was designed to improve CBD amenity and provide COVID-safe spaces where people could congregate in the CBD.

‘This is not only important for the general community, but it’s also crucial to help our local businesses during the next phase of adapting to a COVID world.

‘Providing more seating where people can relax in the CBD while being safely socially distanced is a positive improvement for visitors and businesses alike.’

The parklet was installed this morning. Photo supplies

The second parklet is scheduled to be installed in Molesworth Street outside the Star Court Theatre next week.

As part of the trial project, called ‘Spaced Out’, each parklet will occupy one parallel car park space and include seating, vegetation, tree shade and colourful art to deliver a connection between existing green spaces within the city centre.

‘Importantly, the locations for these parklets were identified to minimise any potential impact to local businesses,’ said Ms Irish.

‘As part of the project, we are also conducting a social distancing awareness campaign in the Lismore and Nimbin business centres.’

Tina explained that when COVID first hit, Council delivered an advertising campaign to encourage people to buy takeaway food and purchase items from local businesses via their websites.

‘We also removed fees to help businesses, like charges for outdoor dining,’ she said.

‘This parklet project is another program to support local businesses and help bring more visitors and shoppers into the CBD.’

The parklet project is a three-month trial, during which time community members can provide feedback via QR codes located on-site. Council will also collect data on community usage to help determine how the parklets are used in the future.

‘Should the project receive positive feedback, work will be undertaken with the community in 2021 to identify future temporary parklet locations,’ said Ms Irish.

The trial parklet project is funded through the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Streets as Shared Spaces program.

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  1. Can council also look at banning smoking in the Nimbin CBD? If it is a ‘streets as shared space’ surely we don’t have to share passive smoke.

  2. Poor old Lismore CBD 🙁

    The reality is that my hometown’s CBD has been dying a slow but certain death from competition, inconvenience (limited parking; flooding…), demographic shifts, and irrelevance since the ’70s.

    There have been numerous campaigns over 30+ years to “revitalise” the old town centre, most of which appear to have fallen far short of their declared goals. Some may have sparkled for a short while – before they fizzled out.

    Retailers, landlords, tenants, suppliers, service providers, schools, offices … have for years been moving to higher ground – up in the hills or out to the high-landfill estates in industrial South Lismore with monotonous, but understandable regularity.

    Downtown Lismore in the 2000s has fast become largely reliant on food and beverage joints, colleges, niche retailers of varying relevance and quality, social services, and professions (upstairs). Is that necessarily a stable, long-term prospect? Sustainable? I have my doubts. A lateral approach might bear sweeter fruit – but I don’t recall that being the way of previous campaigns. Levees, artwork, paving, malls, alfrescos, festivals, galleries, cafes … all came too late for a CBD doomed to frequent serious flooding and changing demographics.

    I have a fondness for old central Lismore – I was raised there – and am reluctant to doomsay it, but perhaps it really is a lost cause.

    And as the insurance industry doesn’t make easy work of flood-damage claims, who’ll have the cojones to operate a potential total-loss-risk business, or even live there?

    Bulldozing it and planting a native jungle could be one option. Ahem.


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