New plans for service station in Lismore CBD

Cathy Adams
Updated November 1 2022 - 2:23pm, first published October 25 2022 - 12:33pm

The block on the corner of Woodlark and Dawson streets remained dormant for many years after the Caltex service station was damaged in the 2017 flood, but it may soon get a new lease on life.

A development application was lodged with Lismore council on October 20 for a new service station and two-storey convenience store at 75-73 Dawson St.


Freedom Petroleum Group is behind the $2.5 million project, which proposes a 24 hour a day, seven day a week Medco service station.

Sneak peek at plans for vacant block in CBD
Sneak peek at plans for vacant block in CBD

A demolition certificate was granted for the Caltex service station in 2019, and it has remained vacant since then.

The flooding issue is one the new owners will have to overcome as the site is located within a low-lying section of the Wilsons River floodplain near Browns Creek.

Torrent Consulting was engaged to undertake a Flood Risk Assessment and Flood Emergency Response Plan for the proposed service station.

While the levee offers some protection, during a major flood event that overtops the levee, the site can be inundated.

Development Application for service station on corner of Dawson and Molesworth streets. Photo montage by MCHP Architects
Development Application for service station on corner of Dawson and Molesworth streets. Photo montage by MCHP Architects

Torrents' report says: "In a greenfield location, development of the site would be prohibited. However, in the context of Lismore, the site is located within an area of extensive existing development. Until such a time that a policy is implemented to relocate the town, the flood risk must be accepted and managed as best as can be reasonably expected".

In pre-lodgement discussions with the council, it was determined certain requirements would need to be met.

The existing floor level at the site is around 6.8m AHD, more than 6m below the 12.9 m AHD Flood Planning Level at the site.

The council acknowledged that floor height was not achievable, but said alternative measures were needed to manage the risk to property and risk to life.

Some of the measures include: a second storey with an equivalent of 25 per cent of the gross floor area of the building to be at or above the Flood Planning Level, with roof access; and a structure able to withstand the impact of flood waters and debris up to the 1 in 500-year flood ARI event.

The report acknowledged the key to good practice floodplain risk management was minimising the risk to both people and property.

Usually, that meant building above the Flood Planning Level, but at this site, as well as many other sites in Lismore, it was not practical.

The report said alternative measures to reduce the risk to property at the site include:

  • Construction of the building structures using flood compatible materials - such as concrete, masonry and galvanised or stainless steel, rather than timber
  • Appropriate measures taken for the installation of electrical features
  • Prevention of contamination of flood waters by hazardous or polluting materials . Re-location of high value goods off-site during the flood evacuation process.

As the site did not have storage area above the flood height, the report recommended safe relocation prior to a flood.

The project will also be referred to NSW RMS for consideration.

Cathy Adams

Cathy Adams