Life returning to Lismore Workers Club

September 12, 2023 | Community

Paynter Dixon is on the ground once again to rebuild a much-loved institution in the Lismore community.  

Lismore Workers Club is made of stronger stuff.

In 2022 the Northern Rivers township experienced its severest flood event in recorded history, pushing the community to breaking point.

The natural disaster resulted in five fatalities, left more than 4,000 homes uninhabitable, and saw the closure of most businesses in town.

Residents rallied together during rescue efforts and in the aftermath of devastation. More than a year later, Lismore City Councillor and Executive Director of ‘Resilient Lismore’, Elly Bird, has described the recovery as a ‘long, hard slog’. By her calculations, the reoccupation rate of homes and businesses has only reached 20 per cent.

Located in the town centre near Wilsons River, Lismore Workers Club’s largest venue experienced the full force of flood waters. The ground level of the three-storey building was entirely submerged, with water levels peaking 4 metres into the top storey. Today, the venue is temporarily closed as Paynter Dixon oversees major renovations, including:

  • New building façade with large windows on the Keen Steet entrance
  • Reconfigured two-storey foyer
  • New dining and amenities, including a bar, bistro, pizza bar, kitchen and staff areas
  • New indoor and outdoor gaming areas and dance floor.

This is the third time in 7 years that Senior Project Manager, Mark Robson, has overseen project delivery on the site.

Paynter Dixon’s relationship with the club began in 2017 with a three-staged renovation which encompassed a new bar and café area, relocation of the administration, gaming room extension, and an alfresco dining area.

“I had just completed work on the café when the 2017 flood came through with devastating impact,” recalls Mark.

“It was a cruel set back to the Club at the time.”

Paynter Dixon’s Insurance division was called upon to repair damage to the bar and café. The club also engaged the company to prepare a master plan with a focus on improved flood resilience.

When the 2022 flood event swept through town at a record 14.4 metres, our insurance team returned once more to oversee the make safe and strip out impacted areas.

There is more on the line this time around, but the master plan has formed the basis of the current building program.

“Our priority is getting the venue back on its feet for the community”

Most businesses remain closed, and the ones that have re-opened are operating on a shoestring.

“There are very few places where residents can dine and enjoy themselves on a budget.”

When the flood separated Nathan Shaw from town for 10 days (pictured top right), the Paynter Dixon Foreman kayaked through floodwaters to help others. He is now managing daily works at the club venue with the same sense of purpose.

“It’s rewarding to see life returning to this end of town.”

“I’ve only worked in Lismore since the flood, stripping out damaged buildings. It has been a mind-blowing experience.”

He describes the people in one word: “Resilient”.

Likewise, Mark Robson praises the spirit of the club. “There are staff, managers and Board members who have persevered through multiple floods over the years. Despite the hardships and setbacks, the Club is resolutely committed to serving the Lismore community. This speaks volumes.”

The delivery team is currently demolishing components of the building and removing waste materials. Where possible, Paynter Dixon is sourcing local contractors to direct cash back into the regional economy.

“Lismore Workers Club is a much-loved institution, and the town needs this venue more than ever.”

Pictured above: Site Supervisor Graham Goldstone with Foreman Nathan Shaw.