An impression of how the four-storey hotel at the Diggers Beach resort will look.
An impression of how the four-storey hotel at the Diggers Beach resort will look.

How $22m resort upgrade will lift Coffs out of a bygone era

A $22 million upgrade to the Aanuka Beach Resort has been approved at tonight's Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.

The major sticking point for the three Councillors against the proposal was the height and bulk of the new four-storey hotel.

The recommendation before Councillors was to approve the proposal in its current form.

Plans by local architecture practice Casa Koala include a state of the art conference facility, 36 luxury hotel suites and an exclusive day spa at the Diggers Beach resort.

The lagoon conference centre and office/administration buildings will be demolished to make way for the plans.

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However, Councillors Sally Townley, Paul Amos and John Arkan were not in favour of the proposal due to its excessive bulk and scale.

"The proposal exceeds the allowable height by roughly one whole storey," Cr Townley said.

"This development is taking advantage of variation possibilities and it is at the expense of neighbours. I can't come at that.

"What residents are opposed to is not the upgrading of the resort, but the exceeding of standards to create something that is really too big on the site. Other issues like vegetation management and koala habitat can be mitigated."

Plans are underway for a multi-million dollar upgrade at the Coffs Harbour resort.
Plans are underway for a multi-million dollar upgrade at the Coffs Harbour resort.

Diggers Beach residents Claire Tobin and Don Macleod submitted presentations outlining their objections to the proposal which were read aloud.

Ms Tobin said the resort should be a success but needs to be in keeping with the surroundings.

"It will set a dangerous precedent to have four storeys along the beach. We don't want another Gold Coast," she said.

Ms Tobin said the new four-storey hotel, with balconies above 10 metres, would lead to a loss of privacy for nearby residents.

"The balconies will be looking into yards and homes with residents exposed to noise from intoxicated guests returning to these balconies."

Mr Macleod spoke of the adverse noise impacts and said the resort had a history of exceeding regulations in this regard.

Breakfree Aanuka Beach Resort.
Breakfree Aanuka Beach Resort.

Speaking for the proposal was Jim Booth from Casa Koala Architecture.

He said Coffs Harbour is in desperate need of some investment in its tourism sector.

"There has been little to no significant investment over the past 30 years and our poor reputation is gaining momentum," Mr Booth said.

"Competing towns like Port Macquarie and Byron Bay are progressing at a much faster rate and Coffs Harbour is being left behind.

"Coffs Harbour is looking very tired across the board and is in desperate need of a timely and contemporary offering. If we don't pursue this shortly, we risk further slipping into the shadow of a bygone era."

Councillors Micheal Adendorff, George Cecato, Tegan Swan, Keith Rhoades and Mayor Knight voted to support the upgrade.