Readers divided over Civic Space project
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
This is the stamp of a true civic vision
I FIND it hard to believe that after our suffering second rate and outgrown premises for the library and art gallery for so long, not to mention the museum, rescued belatedly from its flood-prone position, that council is drawing back from putting in place a precinct, which bears the stamp of a true vision.
Leaving out the disappointment in there not being a performance space as part of the plan and the City Hill option for a total cultural centre, this is the next best thing.
Coffs Harbour already holds the dubious honour of above average violence and too often I find myself defending my beautiful city in the face of friends and acquaintances who liken it to Porpoise Spit, the brash and empty seaside town from the movie Muriel's Wedding.
We appear on the news for all the wrong reasons, so please don't sell the more discerning citizens short yet again. Please give us something to be proud of besides the scenery. We deserve better.
We don't make a choice between sending the children to school or calling in the plumber: we have to do both, and the cultural life of a city is equally important as normal maintenance.
I cannot help noticing that the City Centre is having a major revamp yet again.
Perhaps some similar projects could be delayed for a while. A cultural centre such as the one planned will serve everyone, from preschool to advanced age.
Margaret England, Korora
Cultural facilities are lacking in our city
I READ with interest comments regarding the proposed Coffs Cultural and Civic Space project in the Coffs Coast Advocate newspaper on Wednesday that the concept is moving to the next phase of tendering for the build.
As a relatively new resident, 11 years residing in Coffs Harbour, I have always found the lack of suitable civic space a major issue in Coffs Harbour.
The current library, museum and regional gallery are without a doubt too small and inadequate for the growing population within the LGA.
The proposed Cultural & Civic Space community consultation works that have been carried out to date have been encouraging and fully supported by the creative industries, which I can relate to, residing in and around Coffs, including the general public users of the current inadequate facilities.
This type of infrastructure for a regional city like Coffs Harbour should be fully encouraged and supported by all councillors to enable Coffs to move into the 21st century and beyond.
Delaying this vital project has already had a proposed cost blowout of nearly 100 per cent within a few years.
Further delay will only have this figure increase substantially.
The investment in infrastructures like the Court House and Police Station, Sport Stadium, Coffs Central, Coffs Plaza and Health Campus is encouraging and has certainly attracted new residents and business operators to the area, which of course has encouraged employment and increased the local economy.
From my perspective Coffs has embraced for the sporting enthusiastic population on a global scale, with events being held such as Oz Tag and the World Racing Rally.
Now Coffs need to complete this regional cities capacity by fully embracing a 21st century Cultural and Civic Space for the entire community, including visitors to our livable city.
The cultural remnants of Coffs
TWENTY nine years ago our Civic Centre was sold to the RSL and demolished to create a car park.
Repeated conferences about every five years have been called asking: "What do you want in a Cultural Venue?"
Every time the cultural remnants of our city plead their case one more time, only to see this fruitless cycle repeated.
When selling the civic centre, the council promised to replace it, yet Coffs Harbour remains a cultural desert.
Why is the proposed "Civic and Cultural Centre" to re-house the council chambers and staff? Local government administration is about as "cultural" as stale porridge!
Why is this space not used (as its Civic and Cultural title suggests) for our 29-year absent civic centre?
Meanwhile, cultural events by-pass Coffs Harbour for want of a suitable venue.
How does our current council chambers fall short of staff accommodation needs? The infrastructure is already in place to add another level, complete with a staircase and lift well. Even the matching bricks were stored at the council's depot for this extension.
The council of 1985 built for our future. The new edifice will be the fourth council chambers building during my residency in Coffs Harbour. Council - what are our priorities?
Tom Strickland OAM
Entertainment centre on City Hill
SO if the art gallery and a library are moved around the corner this will regenerate the town centre?
What foolishness is this?
What we need is an entertainment centre, art gallery and library on City Hill.
I took the then plans on one of my trips to Sasebo and the mayor was incredulous that the council owns such a large piece of land in the centre of the city.
What happened to all those plans?
I remember that Cr Heather Casson visited centres in country towns and the plans included a bridge from Salamander St across Albany St.
With an underground car park, car parking would be no problem.
Entertainment centre is the priority
IT IS hard to disagree with Heather McKinnon that a larger gallery within a new cultural Space would be a great addition to Coffs Harbour.
However, those who have been advocating for an Entertainment Complex or space since the old Town Hall was pulled down would be wondering how they fell off the priority list.
A $76million building is about to be approved and yet many ratepayers are not fully aware that moving council offices to this new space has become a far higher priority than providing an entertainment space.
The so called "Civic Space" element of this proposal will be for council use and is justified by a plan to sell off existing council buildings to provide a small part of the $76million.
Would the council have received different responses to this proposal if it had been fully transparent from the beginning about the use of this Civic Space and clearly made a case as to why they need more new office space in times of growing vacancies around town.
To suggest that this proposal could be given the go-ahead on July 11 seems extremely premature, and should possibly be delayed until council elections next year where ratepayers can provide councillors with a clear indication of their feelings.
Fears of the project blowing out on cost
CAN the ratepayers of Coffs Harbour and surrounding districts stand by and let this potential blow out of the much anticipated Cultural & Civic Centre $76 million go ahead?
First of all wrong, wrong location.
There's no parking and there will be no space for the performing artists - sorry, the councillors - to put on a show.
Speaking about entertainment, this is what we desperately need, a purpose-built entertainment centre that we can showcase visiting artists such as Elton John.
We have the land suitable at Roberts Hill opposite the Racecourse, Albany St, close to the airport and ample parking.
This would attract locals and visitors from far and wide and boost our failing economy as there are so, so many small businesses doing it tough, and also put Coffs on the map.
Please let your voice be heard by tomorrow at 5pm before this monstrosity goes ahead.
School zone blitz thanks to the police
THIS is a big thank you to the police who have lately been an obvious presence around schools.
I drive a school bus and regularly drop students at several schools in Coffs Harbour.
In particular the drivers of cars who frequent Coffs Harbour High School, at drop-off and especially pick-up time, display a distinct lack of respect for road law, and they would be the worst offenders.
So to those drivers who can read or understand this, is that bus zones are just that.
For example, if you are dropping or picking up one person in that zone and holding up a bus or buses regularly transporting 50 students per bus then I have no sympathy for you receiving an infringement notice.
You clearly cannot read road signs and therefore should not be driving.
If someone is reading this to you get them to ring 1300655506 which is the reading writing hotline.
Beyond that you can then retake your DKT at ServiceNSW.
From there I will then allow you to share the roads that I drive on. You're welcome.
Mark Linney, Toormina
Ratepayers call to Coffs councillors
DEAR councillors, On behalf of all the ratepayers I ask you to reconsider your proposed project for the following reasons.
Principally, it does not provide us with anything new.
Secondly, it will cost an enormous amount and is not income producing and therefore will be a financial liability on us all.
Thirdly, it does not provide us with a entertainment centre, which after all was the catalyst for the improvements of the gallery and library.
Finally to sell an excellent, income-producing asset like the airport to fund extravagant, non-income-producing entities is basically financial vandalism.
As councillors we entrust you with the future of our region for our generations; this one decision will greatly affect that future.
George M. Partos
Price hike ahead of your tax cuts
DID you notice that as soon as the government gave the working man some extra tax money in their pocket, the supermarkets immediately raised their prices 50 per cent to take it from us.
Maureen Hamson, Macksville
Pub staff to the rescue to save day
THUMBS Up to the Hoey Moey staff for being proactive in caring for their local resident wildlife.
A baby brushtail possum fell from the roof.
They were quick to scoop it up, wrap it in a soft flannelette shirt and call WIRES.
The baby came into care, was assessed and was returned to the roof cavity two nights later, back to its mother.
Staff were wonderful and went over and beyond.
I admire them for being happy to co-exist with the resident possums in the area.
Will job losses lead to blackouts?
I NOTICED with alarm that the sub-standard electric supply that the people of Repton and Mylestom experience courtesy of Essential Energy may even deteriorate further, if that is possible.
I have lived in Repton for five years. I estimate that we have had between 35 and 40 blackouts in that time. Imagine if the people of Coffs Harbour, Urunga or Bellingen had experienced that level of disruption to their daily lives.
I understand that in the event of major storms, damage to electrical infrastructure can happen, but the number of blackouts we experience on nights with no wind or rain is remarkable.
Another two blackouts last week on calm nights.
Here's a thought, how about transferring some of the staff who will lose their jobs to this area, so the people of Repton and Mylestom don't have to put up with a Third World power supply?
Steve C, Repton