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Byron Shire
September 26, 2022

Drain clearing: a new focus for Lismore residents

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Professor Emeritus Colin Wight is pushing for Lismore Council to clear storm drains.
Photo Tree Faerie.

Lismore residents have formed a group to put pressure on their council around drainage maintenance.

Former Professor of International Relations at the University of Sydney, and Lismore resident, Colin Wight, heads the Facebook community action group called the Lismore Drains Community Action Group.

One house in South Lismore has had to pull up floorboards and pump water out from under the house months after the floods. Photo Tree Faerie

He says they are ‘committed to getting Council to fulfil their responsibility in relation to the longstanding, much reported, and yet unresolved, issue of storm drains in Lismore’. 

After not receiving a reply around their concerns, as promised from Lismore City Council General Manager John Walker, Mr Wight contacted The Echo, who in turn asked the GM if a reply was forthcoming.

Mr Walker told The Echo that the issue was complex and ‘will take time’ to resolve. He also said he has ‘added drainage issues and financial assistance for such to our works program with the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation’.

Yet Mr Walker’s reply to Wight was less congenial.

After spelling Mr Wight’s name incorrectly, Mr Walker wrote, ‘I am disappointed to receive your confrontational email. Threatening me is unlikely to produce a positive relationship’.

Yet Mr Wight maintains there was no intent of threat or confrontation, and replied to Mr Walker in part, ‘I am sure you are aware, many residents were traumatised by the events of February and March 2022 and deserve better acknowledgement of their issues from local authorities than they have received thus far. Moreover, as a community action group, we are prepared to protest, lobby, involve MPs and the media, to achieve our aims. It’s called political activism. It’s not threatening to anyone committed to democratic processes’.

A blocked drain that was further broken during a council visit. Photo tree Faerie.

Vital to organise

Mr Wight told The Echo, ‘It’s vital for community groups to organise if they want to get local issues resolved.

‘Working collectively allows a holistic view of the problem, and there’s strength (and support) in numbers.

‘Trying to deal with the issues on an individual level invariably leads to those in positions of authority dismissing and minimising the problems. It’s almost impossible for them to ignore committed and well-organised groups.

He says he is happy to advise any other groups as ‘political activism and research is my strength’.

In his reply to Mr Walker, he asked, ‘When can residents expect work to start on clearing their drains?’

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  1. Perhaps Professor Emeritus Colin Wight could find something a little more momentous to vent his aspirations to appear relevant on.
    Take a little look outside the CBD and have a look at hillsides , roads and bridges destroyed and collapsing into streams, houses demolished
    and realise this council is totally out of it’s depth and unable to address the most pressing needs of the public .
    Grow up and stop your trivial whining about drains.
    Cheers, G”)

  2. Since Lismore council is not lobbying State Government for a full rates rebate for Lismore flood victims, could Mr Wight organize a rates boycott? Unfortunately, a campaign along the lines of ‘can’t pay, wont pay’ is required. I for one have not paid my rates and would urge others to follow

  3. Both ratepayers and tenants could do more to help themselves (and the council) over drain-clearing.
    In my street they do nothing – in fact some effectively block drains with rubbish etc., while their own blocks are picture-perfect !
    Apparently they feel it’s “the Council’s job”, not theirs.
    Then they start complaining when flooding occurs….

  4. I make it my business to ‘unblock my drain & the rest of the street’ because it’s just common sense. However, I agree with Ken that this
    Council is indeed out of its depth. Drains don’t vote – more’s the pity

    • There are plenty of drains here who claim to vote.
      Good for you helping your street. My road works together to do minor critical road repairs for safety until the council can get to us. It’s how civilised people are suppose to act.

  5. Clearing drains can be a very dangerous thing to do without the right equipment. The mayor and the manager are not doing much to help. Our roads are full of pot holes you could break a leg if you weren’t careful. I thought by now we would have more holes filled in. Some of these in LISMORE are huge.


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