Lismore’s largest school will be one of three relocated after a long-awaited review of the viability of Catholic schools in flood-affected areas. Source: ABC News.
According to the School Review Commission report, it is a “clear and unambiguous recommendation” that Trinity Catholic College, in Lismore, Our Lady Help of Christians Primary School, in South Lismore, and St Joseph’s Primary School in Woodburn, should not be re-established at their original flood-prone sites.
Trinity Catholic College had almost 1000 students prior to the catastrophic flood event in 2022, but now has about 840 enrolled at its temporary campus.
The former principal of Trinity, Brother John Hilet, who was a member of the School Review Commission, said the inability to get re-insured played a significant part.
“If we were insured for total loss … you would have to insure for $80 million, so you can see why insurance companies are baulking,” he said.
“To be honest, as a provider of education, if you can’t rebuild after a flood … you can’t go back there.”
Br Hilet said there was a sense of sadness in the community, with the original St Mary’s site of the school established in 1886.
Trinity has a three-year lease to operate at the Lismore campus of Southern Cross University and is looking to extend it.
“I expect our current year sevens to graduate at the SCU campus,” Br Hilet said.
He said finding affordable land connected to essential services to establish a new site would be a challenge.
“The earliest we could turn dirt would be three to four years, and it would be six years before building and looking like completion.”
Three flood-affected schools in the Northern Rivers confirm they will permanently relocate (By Bronwyn Herbert, ABC News)