Local businesses get flood ready with grants

Thursday, 10 December

Lismore City Council’s Deputy Mayor Neil Marks today announced 15 Flood Ready grants for local businesses totally $250,000.

Cr Marks said the grants were targeted at businesses and owners of buildings in flood-prone areas to help them get ready for any future flood.

“This is a great program to help our local businesses, and I am very impressed with the scope of work the successful applicants are undertaking,” he said.

“With many of the recipients using local companies for their work, it’s not only good for them but also good for our local economy.”

Under the competitive Flood Ready program, businesses were required to submit their proposed projects to an independent panel which determined the successful recipients.

Since the 2017 flood, our local businesses have had to content with the impact of bushfires, drought, another flood and COVID-19.

“This program is really just one of many Council has undertaken to help local businesses which contribute so much to our economy. For example, one recipient has generated more than $50 million in terms of wages and its buy-local policy since it was founded 25 years ago.

“It is crucially important that we support and encourage our business community to continue to provide local jobs for local people.

“Earlier this year in response to COVID, Council initiated an advertising campaign to encourage the community to buy take-away and shop online at local businesses, as well as cut a range of business-related fees.”

To be eligible for the Flood Ready grant program, business premises had to be located in the flood-prone urban areas, including the CBD, East Lismore, Girards Hill, North Lismore, South Lismore and Loftville.

This program was funded by the State Government.

State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said any action taken in Lismore CBD and the industrial area where businesses suffer from floods, to help them get ‘flood ready’ is welcome.

“Congratulations are in order for the successful grant applicants and I hope that more businesses can be helped with State Government resources, to be ‘flood ready,” she said.
 
 
Snapshot of some of the successful grants.
 
Advance Automotive Solutions - Grant $12,700
Established in 2009, this business in Conway Street employs 10 people.

When flood waters started to raise, staff put what machinery and items they could on a makeshift wooden platform, however, they quickly ran out of space and could only watch on as machinery was damage.

They will use the grant to install a plate alloy platform and a hoist within its large workshop to create a ‘mezzanine” level above the flood waters.
 
Book Warehouse - Grant $16,900
The current owners of this popular bookshop purchased the business the day after the 2017 flood.

Although staff followed the flood plan of boxing up books and moving them to the first floor, raising flood waters were too fast and much stock was lost and shelving damaged.
It took six weeks to re-open.

The Book Warehouse will use the grant to install a series of metal pallet racks to create a ‘mezzanine level” where books, shelving and the counter can be more readily moved. It is hoped that in a future flood, this will allow the shop to open within a couple of days. It employs 12 people.

Lismore Cruise and Travel - Grant $24,500
Established in 1932, this full-service international and domestic travel agency was only just recovering from the 2017 flood, when it was hit by the closure of international borders due to COVID-19.

Located in one of Lismore’s older buildings, when flood waters entered the premises it got into the power and data points situated close to the floor as well and its plastered walls that hid the original concrete walls.

This meant the company had no access to power or data.

The grant will be used to move power and data points above the 1 in a 100-year flood level, as well as renovate the walls and reseal the concrete floor. The company
employs three people.

Lismore Toy Kingdom – $22,681.54
After opening its doors in 1994, 2017 was the first time the shop was completely inundated with water through the ground floor. Staff followed their flood plan and began packing up stock immediately. However, they were un unable to move all of our fixtures and front counters.

The Toy Kingdom are now working with a local cabinetry specialist, Woodrabbit, to design service counters that are modular and on castor wheels. In the event of a flood this means they can pull apart the counters and move them to our storage area quickly and easily. They are also installing a storage system to hold our fixtures in an organised and specific manner allowing us to reassemble the store and re-open within a couple of days. The toy retailer employs 8 people.

Wrightway Products – Grant $25,000
This waste solutions company, situated on the banks of the Wilson River, has been operating for 25 years and in that time generated $50 million for the local economy through wages and buying local.

During the 2017 flood, the river raised rapidly cutting the company off and preventing them from moving its expensive and large equipment to higher land. Fortunately, the flood waters stopped about 1cm below where it would have caused extensive damage.

The company will use this grant to install an internal ramp so that machinery can be easily moved to higher areas within the factory. The company employs 10 local people.

They have already commissioned local firm Readings Engineering to do the work and hope to start in late January.

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