A step closer to home at the Winsome

The transformation of the Winsome Hotel from pub to homeless shelter moved another step closer on Tuesday night when Lismore City Council voted unanimously to provide 'in-principle support' to allocate $100,000 to the Lismore Soup Kitchen towards the purchase.

Cr David Yarnall moved a seven-point motion, going along with the staff recommendations, and added that a detailed statement should also be provided to the community.

“The community is a bit confused and concerned about what's going on and for good reason,” Cr Yarnall said. “We need to get this out to the community so they can be fully informed of the process.”

Cr Vanessa Ekins said she had some concerns about fire regulations, given the Winsome is a Heritage-listed building.

Council executive director of development and governance Brent McAlister said those issues would be dealt with at the development application stage.

The Soup Kitchen is proposing to provide low-cost crisis accommodation in the Winsome, as well as transferring their meal services from South Lismore to the historic hotel.

Soup Kitchen president Ridley Bell addressed Council and said the $100,000 would not be used in the ongoing running costs, only in capital investment in the building.

“If the Winsome project were to be discontinued within five years the funds would be returned to Lismore City Council,” he said. “There will be no tent city at the Winsome. The Lismore Soup Kitchen has not been in any position of authority to deal with the tent dwellers that have chosen to set up around the Ganger's Hut which is owned by State Rail...

“In partnership with the St Vincent de Paul Society we will be able to help people to make the transition from homelessness through to stable accommodation and in conjunction with Department of Housing we will be able to provide some rooms for crisis accommodation. The length of stay will be case managed for each individual,” Mr Bell said.

A community consultation is currently planned to take place on site at the Winsome on Saturday, September 19.

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