COUNCIL candidates fronted a Lismore Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Tuesday at a meet the candidates forum at which Lismore business was high on the agenda.
Mayor Jenny Dowell and Crs Neil Marks, Graham Meineke, Gianpiero Battista, Isaac Smith, David Yarnall, Simon Clough and Vanessa Ekins were joined at the top table by candidates for the September 8 council election Kate Olivieri, Greg Bennett, and Mathew Scheibel.
Top of the list of recurring themes was the Lismore central business district - its cleanliness, safety and amenity.
Other themes included roads, footpaths and cycleways; financial responsibility; housing (shop top, affordable and dense); the North Lismore plateau development; asset management, planning procedures (especially as they relate to speed of assessment and approval of development applications); and improving business opportunities.
Some candidates made interesting remarks about what we'd get if we elected them: "If you elect me you elect Rebekka (Gianpiero Battista); "Girls in Government will focus on Nimbin, Bexhill and Clunes as well as Lismore" (Kate Olivieri); "A financially responsible council," (Greg Bennett); "Positive attitude and practical action," (Neil Marks); "If I win, you win," (Graham Meineke).
There were bouquets and brickbats from the floor of the forum, with Alison Kelly, representing Lismore Lantern Parade director Jyllie Jackson, giving the council thanks for the modest funds it gives the Lantern Festival, with an implicit plea for more; and Jeff Champion saying the current council has "the worst planning department we've had in 30 years".
The meeting was wrapped up by Donna Yager, from the NSW Business Chamber, who congratulated all the candidates and reminded them being a councillor was hard work, poorly remunerated.