A Facebook page called Our Heart is Not For Sale, has been set up in opposition to plans to expand Lismore Shopping Square.
A Facebook page called Our Heart is Not For Sale, has been set up in opposition to plans to expand Lismore Shopping Square. Rebecca Lollback

CBD rates freeze proposed in Lismore Square debate

Wednesday 6.33pm: A NOTICE of motion planned to be tabled at next week's Lismore City Council meeting may help bring councillors opposing the controversial Lismore Shopping Square expansion on side.

Cr Gianpiero Battista has proposed to freeze existing CBD business rates "until such a time as parity is achieved" with the goal of eventually implementing one business rate for the whole local government area.

He said the move "would allow for a gradual review of the rating structure" working toward eliminating rate variations across the LGA.

The latest proposal comes after Cr Battista, in April, attempted to move a motion for an urgent review of CBD business rates to address discrepancies between city centre and other LGA businesses.

The pair were among those who voted 6-5 against entering into a Memorandum of Understanding to discuss the $90 million project with Square owner McConaghy Properties.

Their decision to oppose the development was based upon councillors voting down Cr Bennett's amendment, which sought rate consistency between Square and CBD businesses as well as using funds from public land sales to help pay council's debts.

Cr Battista said he emailed his new motion to the pair to consider.

In the context of the Square proposal, Cr Casson favoured the proposed rate freeze, but questioned how it would sway her stance on the Square.

"I don't think that is going to get me over the line entirely unless there is something in there to look at the rates of the Lismore Shopping Square," Cr Casson said.

She said more clarification about Cr Battista's proposal for one rate for the entire LGA was needed.

Cr Battista's motion is in light of hotly contested campaigns for and against the Square expansion within the community.

To date, 1042 people have signed the opposing Our Heart is Not for Sale petition, which was launched five days ago.

Meanwhile, a petition to expand the Square has so far attracted 1665 signatures.



Wednesday 12.03pm: A PETITION against the expansion of Lismore Shopping Square has reached more than 1000 signatures overnight, compelling its organisers to increase the target to 1500 from 1000.

To date, 1042 people have shown their opposition to the proposed development by signing the Our Heart is Not for Sale petition, which was launched five days ago.

At the Lismore City Council meeting in September, councillors voted a close 6-5 against entering a Memorandum of Understanding to discuss the development with the Square's owner, McConaghy Properties.

The decision caused uproar around the community with those for the development voicing their outrage over the decision online and around Lismore.

Business leaders, Lismore MP Thomas George and Page MP Kevin Hogan as well as councillors who voted for the proposal have amplified their anger over the move.

Talks of a lodging a rescission motion have sparked community campaigns for and against bringing the proposal back to the council chambers.

Signs have been erected at Humbley Oval, which could be built over if the expansion went ahead, urging the community to 'Save Lismore Park'. Events have also been hosted by the Our Heart is not For Sale group in a bid to showcase the importance of public space.

But as numbers opposing the development increase, a counter campaign has also established by those for the expansion.

Mr Hogan and Mr George as well as Lismore Chamber of Commerce vice president Andrew Gordon joined forced to begin the Expand the Lismore Square petition about a week ago.

So far, the petition has attracted 1654 signatures and is chasing a target of 2500.

Click here to vote for the expansion.

Click here to vote against the expansion.