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Byron Shire
November 30, 2022

Will Lismore spend $250k on a disaster ‘study tour’?

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Travel buddies? Lismore City Council’s Mayor Steve Krieg and a delegation chosen by General Manager John Walker would travel to Christchurch, New Orleans, Eau Claire, Amsterdam and London. Photo supplied.

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.

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  1. I agree with Venessa Ekins because Lismore is not a playground. Bring the ‘experts’ here before we again face more problems. I’d say
    that parts of the township itself need to be shifted. No world trip is going to fix the obvious. Our entire nation needs support.

  2. The only way that Lismore rate-payers could get any value for this ‘Grand Tour’ would be to make it impossible for this band of deadbeats to ever return to these shores.
    Cheers, G”)

    • Agreed, administrators are our only hope at this point, get all their vested financially interested snouts out of the trough created from people’s rates and taxes.
      Another meeting, another circus, do nothing…repeat.
      Soon to be 12 months post flood, now in the next flood season, the majority of our council is still fighting for the profits of a developer/s.

  3. The Mayor might need a holiday BUT this is insulting to the people of Lismore. National Party ‘pig-in-trough’ mentality on show here.
    They can find out all they need to know ONLINE and by being more consultative with their ‘progressive’ fellow Councillors who have been through a few floods whilst in office.

  4. What a croc! This is a blatant and obscene abuse of Council funds. With so much needed here, how could anyone consider this extravagance? If this goes ahead, then our Council has truly lost the plot.

  5. Could the Mayor remind us of his policies prior to his election ?
    I seem to remember something like Thrift, Value for ratepayers scarce resources, Back to basic Council activities.
    $250,000 would go some way to fixing the thousands of dangerous potholes on Council controlled roads.
    Would not Mayor Krieg and the general Manager spend their time better consulting with the Reconstruction Authority rather than gallivanting around the world to see other damaged cities, that have no bearing on Lismore’s particular circumstances. . . or do they just need a break ?

  6. Sounds like a junket to me, and nothing that couldn’t be done over the internet or with zoom.
    Why don’t they give 250 people a thousand bucks towards home repairs or a well-deserved holiday

  7. OMG. This is like a skit from a satirical comedy. But … it’s real. This article would have made a great installation for the Echo’s annual April Fools front page. But … it’s real. FFS!!!!!!!! Who voted for these clowns??????????

  8. What a lot of bollocks. (Ken’s comments above hit the nail on the head.). Seriously though, this sort of Cook’s tour should be undertaken by either the State or Federal Govt. It’s bl….y useless a Council trying to solve it. Yokes, what if all Councils affected by floods wanted to do this.

    Councillors with brains: Please vote this stupidly down.

  9. This is the most diabolical, disgusting thing ive read since the flood, HOW DARE THEY???,,HAVE THEY NOT HEARD OF ZOOM??….swan off around the world while this community is in ruins, disgusting, DISGUSTING!!!

    • One wonders if they know about the internet, and how they can get all the information they seek online, without going anywhere.

    • Agree wholeheartedly – on the floodplain there will be another flood. They are only a “catastrophe” if humans lose possessions. Remove the possessions, including buildings, from the floodplain and let nature run its course. And do it now. Then we will be left with rich, alluvial soils after each flood and no massive cleanup or associated trauma.

  10. Wow what a negative reaction to the outside World, John and Steve have been working hard here on the ground in the usual echo chamber of whingers- put it in perspective globally, most would have stayed put with sensible loft conversions prior to the flood, but no, they put Airbnb under the house and then looked surprised and had to be rescued and put up in pods, look at the World guys have you heard of inland of Pakistan of Nigeria ; prepare, clear under your houses like they do in other places around the World, in other big cities. #juststopoil

  11. Well I’m in favour of getting that outside perspective, maybe add Pakistan and Nigeria to the itinerary- then report back, not just to The City of LISMORE but Western Sydney and Western Byron too, I think the correct approach would be sensible Loft Conversions and some help with that from David Witherdin and by the way #juststopoil

    • At last a sensible comment apart from our usual snipers and denegrators.
      Loft conversions make perfect sense – most older houses have large, pitched roofs ideal for this purpose.
      Every house in the danger zone should have one, at a far lower cost than other “flood-proofing” methods proposed so far.

    • Send me. I’ll do it for a mere $125K & report back thoroughly.
      I reckon I can do most of it as desktop research.
      It’s not as though there are no reports and studies from the abovementioned cities.
      Pakistan & Nigeria might be a stretch since their disasters are still ongoing & no resilience-led recovery is likely before I return.

  12. William, you obviously know little about construction as well as flood. It’s online for all those who understand & work within the
    systems. Jumped up people of importance need to stay put else leave.

  13. Wow, I offered a flood mitigation strategy idea, tumbleweeds from Lismore City Council, I was told by one councillor it was not possible, and now they want to take a paid holiday overseas to see the very same ideas I proposed. Shame on you. All the areas they are planning to visit to get ideas, you can get every bit of that knowledge online, from one website, I did, and I plan to implement those very same ideas on the home I have just purchased, and where was I? Sitting at home researching on the computer, its not hard. I even have a university interested in a thesis on my property flood mitigation strategy. Time for council to step up and listen and stop spending money unnecessarily. I’ll even offer to take a small part of that money they want for their holiday and showcase 2 working ideas, one of which I can demonstrate live. Yes a working full size demonstration of a flood mitigation strategy on a building that will beat any flood that comes Lismore’s way.

  14. Byron’s Mayor advised it cost $30,000 to send several staff to Europe to travel around and visit 10 Bioenergy Plants – where does the $250,000/$50,000 per person cost come from? $1000 a night accom and $500 breakfasts?


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