While the Tweed Mayor says it’s crucial to learn from the past to avoid a repeat of the devastation caused by the recent flood, the Lismore Mayor is hoping that Council will vote to send himself and a delegation on a ‘study tour’ to the tune of $250,000.
With 21st-century technology including Google, Wikipedia and Zoom bringing the world and its experts to us via computer, questions are being raised about the appropriateness of such a large spend and the necessity to travel.
The Notice of Motion for the trip is on the Agenda for next Tuesday evening’s monthly council meeting.
Look at world’s best practice
Mayor Krieg has moved that: ‘Council send a delegation consisting of the Mayor and up to two Councillors, relevant staff (delegated by the General Manager) and two local private experts to look at world’s best practice on disaster recovery, reconstruction, planning and mitigation works’.
The ‘Councillor Comment’ says the outcome sought from the trip would be: ‘To learn from other cities around the world that have experienced natural disasters and how they have been able to rebuild effectively in a safe, resilient, inclusive manner, and to develop relationships and resources to draw on during our own planning and reconstruction efforts moving forward.
Depending on how many people Mr Walker ‘delegated’, the trip could work out at up to $50,000 per person.
Better and cheaper ways
Councillor Vanessa Ekins objects strongly to the idea of the trip and believes that there are better and cheaper ways to get the same information. ‘Lismore Councillors met recently to discuss the future of Lismore, our housing, businesses, the CBD and its relevance as a regional city. We agreed that we need to masterplan what this looks like, and to move vulnerable people out of the floodplain.
‘So, it is astounding for the Mayor to suggest leaving our community at this time when we need strong leadership – for a world tour at ratepayer’s expense.
‘I don’t know what he expects to achieve, but I think $250,000 would be better spent on design experts such as architects and catchment engineers to visit Lismore and engage with our community about possible futures for our city.’
A unique opportunity
Cr Ekins thinks there is currently a unique opportunity to design exciting, affordable and climate-appropriate housing for the region. ‘We need to do this here and now! Not after the Mayor and interim general manager have jaunted around London and Canada and America.
‘Our community expects local solutions with expert advice, not overseas junkets.’
Cities to be included in the proposed tour are: Christchurch, New Orleans, Eau Claire, Amsterdam and London.
Council will debate the motion tomorrow night at the monthly meeting from 6pm.
For more information, visit: lismore.nsw.gov.au.