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.
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’.
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?’