The Coffs Harbour Regional Museum once housed the police station and courthouse.
The Coffs Harbour Regional Museum once housed the police station and courthouse.

Change of heart for some Crs with museum sale up for debate

JUST two Councillors supported tonight's recommendation to sell the Coffs Harbour Museum to help fund the Cultural and Civic Space.

An offer of $950,000 was on the table.

RELATED: Council gets offer on museum

As discussion progressed it became clear Mayor Denise Knight was wavering from her previous stance on the sale.

Other properties up for sale are the Castle Street Administration Building, Rigby House and buildings in Rose Ave.

"I have always advocated for the sale of these buildings...but I'm a little bit sitting on the fence now," Cr Knight said.

"Although I've always advocated to sell the building I am a bit concerned, and as Councillor Rhoades points out, it doesn't matter what's in this building, it's the building itself that is part of our history and we don't have a lot of that history left."

George Partos burning his rates notice outside Coffs Harbour City Council chambers on September 28. He held another protest outside chambers this afternoon.
George Partos burning his rates notice outside Coffs Harbour City Council chambers on September 28. He held another protest outside chambers this afternoon.

Most Councillors conceded the building, which once housed the police station and courthouse, was not best suited for a museum.

In trying to encourage Cr Knight to move to his side of the fence and reject the sale, Cr John Arkan said it was all about economics.

"I have always advocated that we shouldn't sell assets. I don't believe, in this time of change, that it's the time to sell," Cr Arkan said.

"And thirty, forty, fifty years down the track, you won't find such large parcels of land close to the CBD."

Cr Paul Amos asked the question so many would like the answer to: when will the development application for the Cultural and Civic Space be determined.

General Manager Steve McGrath responded:

"I have been making inquiries and trying to ascertain the status and the nearest I can tell you is the assessment has been completed and it is with the minister seeking a final decision."

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The proposal has often split Councillors four:four. Cr Swan was not at tonight’s meeting due to a family funeral.
The proposal has often split Councillors four:four. Cr Swan was not at tonight’s meeting due to a family funeral.

Cr Sally Townley who described herself as an unwavering supporter of the Cultural and Civic Space was also hesitant to push ahead with the sale.

"Perhaps we do need to maintain it in public ownership, and the next question would be, what should go in there," Cr Townley said.

"I was an advocate but now in terms of heritage value, I would like to retain it and seek another use for it."

With Deputy Mayor Tegan Swan absent from the meeting due to a family funeral it was Crs George Cecato and Michael Adendorff for the sale, and Crs Keith Rhoades, Sally Townley, John Arkan, Denise Knight and Paul Amos against.

Also on the agenda was a development application for the demolition of buildings along Gordon street to make way for the Cultural and Civic Space.

This was passed 6 - 2 with Cr Rhodes and Arkan voting against.