Jetty upgrade plans long overdue

THE Chamber has received notification from The State Property Authority that they “have ceased actively marketing” of the Jetty rail land “until council has finalised the draft planning documents that will apply to the site”.

The Chamber had written to all the relevant state authorities and eventually to our State Member of Parliament Andrew Fraser, asking that disposal of the land that is adjacent to the Jetty rail crossing at the Harbour be halted until the community is advised of long-term plans for the crossing.

It is now up to the council and the community to demonstrate to the State Government that the disposal of this parcel of land into private hands is not in the best interests of the Coffs Harbour community.

We currently have an old fashioned ground level controlled rail crossing for vehicles and pedestrians and every time a train passes all movements across the line are halted and traffic can back up onto Orlando St and Jordan Esplanade.

With a predicted increase in rail, pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the years to come, now is the time to plan for the future access to our “Jewel in the Crown” – our harbour and foreshores.

Whilst land is available, the opportunity exists to create a gateway statement, redesign the access and egress to and from the Harbour to alleviate congestion and provide smooth and safe traffic flow.

One suggestion could be to build an elevated pedestrian bridge over the railway incorporating an architecturally appropriate design reflecting the importance of the setting and drawing attention to the Harbour.

In addition, some of this land should continue to be used as a car park, as it has been for many years until the SPA authorities fenced it off prior to disposal for “safety reasons”.

The Jetty has a recognised shortage of car parking spaces and if business and the Jetty are to survive and flourish more spaces need to be found west of the rail crossing.

The Chamber will work with council to ensure that this community is not put at any disadvantage by the premature disposal of rail land until proper and appropriate planning for the future has been put into place.