One North Lismore resident said she would gladly accept a land swap or buy back deal if it were offered

David Kirkpatrick
Updated May 25 2022 - 9:28am, first published May 24 2022 - 8:43am

One North Lismore resident said she would "take the money and run" if post-flood land swaps and buy backs were on the table.

While a prominent business owner said it was "scary" to suggest removing 1,000 houses from North and South Lismore without knowing what mitigation proposals the CSIRO might come up with.

The concept of a land swap or buy back of 1,000 or more houses in Lismore and "de risking" of the CBD, sparked a spirted discussion at a post-flood planning meeting on Monday night.


A push for some sort of government backed flood reinsurance scheme, opposition to the CBD moving from its current location, and the fact there are 3,500 residential plots already in the pipeline ready to be fast-tracked for land swap deals, were also revealed.

A proposal to build a new commercial or mixed-use precinct on gold course land at East Lismore received a mixed response.

While many didn't want it set up as an alternative to the CBD, it was generally well received, with caveats around access and protection of a koala corridor

The meeting was informed that Prince Charles is taking an active interest in the city's reconstruction, through one of his architects, who grew up in Lismore.

It was also revealed that Richmond River High was unlikely to be re-built, but there were strong indications the Trinity would return on its current site.

The meeting was Lismore City Council's first serious attempt to test the depth of feeling in the community since the first devastating flood wreaked havoc on the city three months ago.

Billed as a review of Lismore's Land Use Management Strategy, everything was examined with the floods of February and March forcing council to "re-think" its strategy.

Although 120 people registered to attend the meeting at the Lismore Heights Sports Club there were plenty of empty chairs, perhaps pointing to some sort of flood fatigue.

North Lismore resident Vicki Findlay said she was interested in any land swap or buy back scheme.

Her questions were around the timing of such a scheme as she said residents in her street were already building back.

"I don't think we can mitigate for that type of flooding and I think we have to accept that's where we are at," she said.

"I know it is inappropriate to stay there now, it is not viable.

"I am a bit worried about the land swaps. The land swaps are going to take a long time. I'm not sure I want to wait that long. I am in my 60s and my partner is even older.

"If I am in that list of people for buy backs I think I will take the money and run."

Salina Edmonds, co-owner of iconic CBD business Farmer Charlies, raised a number of concerns following the meeting including mitigation and removing 1,000 homes from North and South Lismore.

"I think we have got to be careful not to put the horse before the cart," she said.

"We have got to find out if we can mitigate, that's what the CSIRO study is about.

"If we can mitigate that changes the course of decision making.

"There are people in the floodplain that do not want to move and we have got to me mindful of that.

"It is scary when they talk about these land swap deals and relocation without any sort of parameters around it."

A second forum will be held at Lismore Heights Sports Club on Wednesday at 11.30am. Bookings are essential and can be made at

Lismore City Council held a post-flood planning meeting at Lismore Heights Sports Club on Monday night. Picture: David Kirkpatrick
Lismore City Council held a post-flood planning meeting at Lismore Heights Sports Club on Monday night. Picture: David Kirkpatrick
David Kirkpatrick

I'm a media professional with over 34 years of experience in public relations and journalism, including a decade setting Lismore's news agenda as the editor of The Northern Star. I have proven track record in growing audiences and improving engagement by delivering quality local stories for and about the Lismore community.