News

Reader calls Lismore Mayor to ‘get his head out of the sand’

UPDATE 1.40pm: READERS have voiced varied responses to Lismore Mayor' Isaac Smith's comment over town's ice problem after it featured in a national TV expose.

Nathan Hayward called Cr Smith to 'get his head out of the sand' in his comment on the Northern Star's Facebook page over the town's feature in the ABC program Ice Wars.

Getting out on the streets with patrolling police at night was Amy Green's suggestion for Lismore's Mayor and other politicians to see a different perspective into the ice issue.

"I think our politicians need to walk our streets more often or go on patrol with our police officers and see what really goes on in the Lismore City Shire, especially at night. (It) Might change their opinion pretty quickly," she wrote.
Callum Lockrey directed Cr Smith into Lismore Base Hospital's busy emergency department.

"I recommend the mayor going into the emergency room of a Friday and Saturday night. then get his thoughts on the situation again," he wrote.

Reader, John Heaton looked at the scourge of ice more broadly and credited the show for its portrayal of the concerns.

"I thought the show did a great job on those three regional towns, exposing the truth that the ice issue is not just a city problem. It is widespread," he wrote.

A former Lismore local said the regional city's drug woes were shameful and among the reasons they left the area.

 

UPDATE 11am: LISMORE Mayor Isaac Smith has criticised the ABC's Ice Wars show over its portrayal of his city earlier this week. 

While Cr Smith said documentaries are useful to uncover different issues, he is concerned Lismore's ice woes was painted as a dominant problem that overshadowed the town's many positive attributes.

"The ice issue is a national issue not just a Lismore issue," Cr Smith said.

"The common comment I had was 'this isn't the Lismore I know."

Cr Isaac Smith is looking likely to be Lismore City's next mayor. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Cr Isaac Smith is looking likely to be Lismore City's next mayor. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

Cr Smith planned to reach out to mayors of other regional areas portrayed in Tuesday night's episode, including Wellington and Nowra.

He said "it would be great to reach out" to those mayors in a bid to put pressure on the Federal and State Governments to better tackle the problem.

On Facebook, Cr Smith said "it is disappointing to see stereotypes and generalizations" used to describe the serious health issues of ice.

"There is always another drug issue, it is currently ice, and our community needs to work with all levels of government to see people helped and protected," Cr Smith wrote.

 

FRIDAY 8.20am: EXPOSURE of the Northern Rivers ice problem on national television this week has created a frosty tension within the community.

Lismore-based author, Eben Venter took to Facebook to criticise his town's portrayal in Tuesday night's ABC programme Ice Wars.

Mr Venter said the show "slandered" the regional city by implying "it is being taken over by ice" and targeted "poor, vulnerable people."

"At one point Lismore was purposefully portrayed as godforsaken and post-apocalyptic, like a scene from the movie Snowtown," Mr Venter said.

The confronting episode triggered varied responses on social media with one Facebook post said ice makes "heroin looks like a play drug."

Mr Venter said he doesn't deny the serious issues methamphetamine presents but questioned the show's facts.

 

Lismore writer Eben Venter.
Lismore writer Eben Venter. Contributed

And he wasn't the only one, National Drug Research Institute Professor Nicole Lee, of Curtin University, published a scathing article that downplayed the idea of the 'ice epidemic' and said it's not "tearing apart the fabric of our community."

Prof Lee referenced 'the best data available' in her piece for The Conversation highlighting: "2.1% of Australians over 14 years have used methamphetamine in the last year and about half of those prefer ice over speed."

While it may seem like a small percentage, Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay regularly confronts the faces behind the figures.

"The vast majority of people don't have to deal with it, they don't see it," Det Insp Lindsay said.

Det Insp Lindsay, who featured on Tuesday night's episode, respected Prof Lee's opinion but said front line agencies who confront ice users daily "have a different point of view".

"I think (the show) is indicative of the issue Australia wide and in NSW," Det Insp Lindsay said.

Rehabilitation centre, The Buttery's residential program manager Trent Rees has seen an upswing in meth users at the clinic.

"We have seen a slight increase in clients using methamphetamine as the drug of choice compared to a few years ago," Mr Rees said.

Mr Rees said ice is not exactly a cheap drug but it's long lasting affects give its users "bang for their buck".

"The reality is it's available. Is it an epidemic? It's a price point," Mr Rees said.

From a policing point of view, Det Insp Lindsay said the Richmond LAC has placed significant numbers of alleged ice suppliers, manufacturers and some users before the courts.

Four of those offenders, three in Lismore and one in Armidale, will be facing court over ice-related charges next month following the latest drug operation, Strike Force Thermal.

 

Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay says police are concerned about the discovery of homemade guns found when police executed a search warrant in Lismore.
Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay says police are concerned about the discovery of homemade guns found when police executed a search warrant in Lismore. Cathy Adams

He said some viewers may be misinterpreting the show's goal in what he described is ice's "dramatic effect on regional areas."

"The positive side of the show showed that people in these towns are over it," Det Insp Lindsay said.

"It's not just a police issue but a whole community issue to get rid of the scourge of ice.

"It's time to stand up and say: 'enough is enough.'"

Det Insp Lindsay stressed "there is no silver bullet to the ice problem" but an integrated approach by law enforcement, health and education agencies is a constructive step towards a solution in the Northern Rivers and the nation in general.

"It has to involve education, health and enforcement. One operating on it's own won't solve the issue," he said.

Mr Rees agreed and said the battle to combat drug abuse isn't being fought effectively.

"The idea of a war on drugs is ludicrous," Mr Rees said.

He said waging a war on why people use illicit substances in the first place would make for a better start to end the vicious cycle of drug abuse.

Topics:  editors picksdrugs ice wars lismore methampetamine northern rivers crime


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Ballina a stop for Sydney to Surfers

Ballina to help smash the $300k goal for Youth Off The Streets.

LOUD show of young art talent

YOUTH ART AWARD: Erin Cattle, of Ballina Coast High School, was one of the students awarded  for her work in the LOUD in the Gallery art exhibition.

Artistic talent of local youth on display at Ballina

Chicks with attitude help make mother's day

MADE WITH LOVE: The CWA Ballina branch will be selling delicious baked goods, preserves, bottles treats and handicrafts at their Mothers Day stall on May 5.

CWA annual fundraiser selling funky crafts and baked treats

Local Partners

Simon Baker and Rebecca Rigg pledge big sum to flood appeal

THE Ballina-raised star and his wife confirmed the donation to charity organisation Rise Above the Flood.

Patti Smith: the mother of punk gave Jim Morrison his wings

Patti Smith at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay.

One of the most exhilarating performances in recent Blues history

UPDATED: Patti Smith donates large sum for flood recovery

Patti Smith at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay.

The artist performed two shows at Bluesfest 2017

Bluesfest Day 2: From Jason Momoa to Mary J Blige

Hollywood star Jason Momoa was happy to interacts with fans backstage at Bluesfest 2017.

Chris Hemsworth and Matt Damon gave the festival a Hollywood touch

Red carpet rolled out for Logies glitz and glam

THE red carpet's been rolled out at the Palladium in Melbourne's Crown Casino which means the Aussie TV industry's night of nights is about to begin.

Bachelorette 2017: Celeb bombshell ready to find love

She is pretty clear on what she doesn’t want in a guy.

Will Waleed Aly really win the Gold Logie once again?

The Project host Waleed Aly is a favourite to collect his second Gold Logie tonight.

Here’s who we think will take home a TV Week award:

The most serious rescue at Bondi in 70 years

Trent ‘Singlets’ Falson signals for assistance as he gets to the unconscious woman.

Two more foreigners have gotten themselves in trouble at Bondi

Dave Hughes promises more scandal-poking at Logies

Dave Hughes - Pointless, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Dave Hughes is promising more of the same heckling this year

Happy Days' Erin Moran found dead aged 56

Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms "Happy Days" and "Joanie Loves Chachi," has died at age 56. Police in Harrison County, Indiana said that she had been found unresponsive Saturday, April 22, 2017, after authorities received a 911 call.

Erin Moran has been found dead at 56

Queen of Aussie TV earns Logie Hall of Fame honour

Queen of Australian television, Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

Aussie TV icon Kerri-Anne Kennereley finally acknowledged by Logies

What dodgy real estate ads really mean

This dilapidated house was described as an ‘Edwardian timber home, open to your imagination’. That’s a nice way of putting it.

Real estate writing is just outsourced lying, says one writer

SOLD: Iconic M'boro pub set to be transformed

Shane Muller from Maryborough Motorcycles will be opening up a showroom and café at the Shamrock Hotel.

The Shamrock Hotel is set to be transformed in the next two months.

Coast developer looks to prime real estate's future

MANY OPTIONS: Sunshine Coast developer Graeme Juniper is considering what to do with a prime piece of real estate he owns on Radical Bay on Magnetic Island, near Townsville.

Radical Bay is World Environment Heritage-listed.

This small box of a unit just sold for $1 million

Elizabeth Bay unit has charming views to Sydney Heads.

If this doesn't scream 'housing bubble', nothing does.

MILLIONAIRES ROW: Is this Toowoomba's biggest house?

STUNNING PROPERTY: The home in lot five at Kara View Court is framed with Table Top Mountain as a backdrop.

When entering Kara View Crt, it's hard to ignore the stunning home

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!