Four Council buildings, including the chambers in Castle St, were up for sale to help fund the Cultural and Civic Space.
Four Council buildings, including the chambers in Castle St, were up for sale to help fund the Cultural and Civic Space.

Council offices could make way for commercial ventures

FOR the first time in almost six months Councillors have voted unanimously in relation to the Cultural and Civic Space.

The move could pave the way for the removal of Council staff and administration offices (other than library, gallery and museum) from the controversial build - one of the key objections from the community.

The sale of four Coffs Harbour City Council buildings had been an integral part of the funding model for the controversial $76.5m project.

But following an expression of interest marketing campaign there were offers made on only three of the buildings and they were all below market value.

RELATED: Building sale hits a major hurdle

The buildings in question are: Council's Administration Building in Castle St; Rigby House at 27-29 Duke Street; the Museum on Harbour Drive; and buildings at 169-171 Rose Avenue.

The Rose Avenue holding didn't attract any offers.

 

Council offices were slated to go on the top levels of the Cultural and Civic Space.
Council offices were slated to go on the top levels of the Cultural and Civic Space.

At the Coffs Harbour City Council meeting last night the recommendation was to formally reject the offers and continue to negotiate with prospective buyers to obtain a fair and reasonable market price for each holding.

Instead Councillor Sally Townley put up an alternative motion which would reject all offers but see a temporary pause on the inclusion of two buildings (the administration building and Rigby House) from any Expression of Interest for sale process.

 

Buildings on Gordon Street where the Cultural and Civic Space will go.
Buildings on Gordon Street where the Cultural and Civic Space will go.

General manager Steve McGrath will continue to engage in negotiations with prospective buyers to achieving a reasonable offer for the museum and the Rose Ave property.

The move would free up the section of the Gordon Street project that would have housed Council offices to be used for other prospective tenants.

It is similar to the suggestion from Gowing Brothers submitted as part of the DA process for the Cultural and Civic Space.

The State Government received almost 900 submissions in relation to the DA with the one from Gowing Bros Ltd congratulating Council on the art gallery, library, museum and cultural space component but 'objecting strongly' to the inclusion of a café and Council administration offices.

RELATED: Gowings weighs into Cultural and Civic Space debate

Cr Townley's motion, seconded by Deputy Mayor Tegan Swan, also included the following point in relation to alternative uses for sections of the building that were to house Council offices:

'That Council - receives a report detailing the financial implications of the removal the proposed functions of Council staff offices and associated working spaces within the Cultural and Civic Space, (other than Library, Gallery and Museum staff) and exploring opportunities for alternative uses for the space including community and/or commercial uses.'

It was a long night for Councillors with a number of controversial development application on the agenda including one for a $22m upgrade at Aanuka Beach Resort.

RELATED: $22m resort upgrade gets the green light

Just before 10.30pm Councillors had to vote on whether or not they would proceed with the meeting. Crs Paul Amos and Michael Adendorff were the only ones who wanted to call it a night, so they all pressed on with business.

The meeting wrapped up at 11pm.