New heart for our CBD
THE building blocks are being putting in place for a revitalisation of Coffs Harbour's city centre.
More than 50 CBD landlords, tenants, retailers and regular users took part in a workshop this week investigating how to rejuvenate the precinct and reinstate it as the undisputed heart of the city, as part of the CBD Masterplan process.
Facilitator Dave Woolbank, from boutique consultancy Straight Talk, said he was impressed by the passion and drive of the participants and their desire for change.
"The debate about what actually constitutes the CBD got a bit prickly at times, but when we got to discussing what is good and needs improving in the precinct, and how we do that, I started feeling very encouraged that a lot will be achieved over the next year," Mr Woolbank said.
"Two of the big issues which emerged were about toilet facilities and signage to direct travellers off the highway.
"As well, there was a lot of discussion about parking."
Mr Woolbank said the group became enthused when they were asked to consider quick wins to bring life back into the city centre.
"Some of the ideas which came out were related to establishing a fitness circuit, and even an outdoor gym, one-way traffic flows, connecting the city with Coffs Creek, the showgrounds and botanic garden and how best to use natural assets to give the area an identity.
"There was also talk about the need to set up a committee to look at the overall presentation of buildings in the CBD.
"When it came to defining the identity of the CBD, the participants scored it only three out of 10, which means we both have a big job ahead but also the luxury of a relatively blank canvas."
Mr Woolbank said a shopfront would soon be opened in Gordon St as part of a commitment to transparency and open engagement.
A website coffscity.com.au will be live later today.
"This project is not just about landlords. It is about getting the input of everyone who uses the CBD."
The next workshop will be held on October 10 and involve designers.
"We will be working to identify three core design themes from which we build a concrete proposal to be put out for public comment, so that the masterplan can be approved by the end of January.
"There is a great need to re-invigorate the heart of Coffs, to give it life and vitality."