To reclassify or not

Lismore Mayor Merv King moved to allay fears that the proposed reclassification of some of Lismores community lands might lead to a sell off.

His response comes after concerns for the future of community land were expressed at a recent public hearing where verbal submissions about the proposed reclassification of Lismore Park from community to operational were heard.

Land classified operational can be leased or sold without recourse to the community.

I really want to reassure the community that selling off parkland is definitely not Councils intention, said Cr King. Nor is there any intention to erect fences to keep the public out of these areas. However the Draft Plan of Management for Lismore Park, which comes before Council soon, proposes closing off Crozier Oval to the public except for competitive events.

Cr King said Councils intention was to reclassify these community lands as operational, grant long term leases, make some boundary changes to excise the proposed lease area from the land parcel (boundary changes or subdivision cannot be carried out on community land) and then change the remaining land back to a community classification.

Once we we have fixed up some lease matters, Council will return the community lands to their former classification, said Cr King.

Under the present community classification leases of up to 21 years can be granted by Council. If the lease is for more than five years then the council must advertise the proposed lease to the community. Any objections must go to the Minister for Local Government for evaluation.

This may take up to 18 months, said Lismore City Councils executive director of development and governance, Lindsay Walker, who thinks that such delays are counter-productive.

Under an operational classification Council can negotiate leases freely without such community inputs.

Despite repeated requests from the public to know why Lismore Park was being reclassified, there has been no official statement made.

However Cr King yesterday told The Echo that the reason for changing the classification of Lismore Park to operational was to be able to lease the Oakes Oval kitchen to an un-named interested party.

There have been rumours circulating that the reclassification was necessary for the installation of floodlights at Crozier Oval, however Cr King said the lights could be installed under the present classification.

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