Coffs Harbour City Council's schematic design for the $76.5 million Civic and Cultural Centre.
Coffs Harbour City Council's schematic design for the $76.5 million Civic and Cultural Centre.

REVEALED: How the Coffs Civic Space will progress to a build

THE controversial $76.5 million Cultural and Civic Space development earmarked for Gordon St will progress to the construction phase after a lengthy stalemate between councillors was broken with the mayor's casting vote.

Coffs Harbour City Council labelled the vote an historic moment for the city, while detractors slammed councillors claiming an exorbitant spend of ratepayers funds, on a civic centre that will include a new council administration office.

Mayor Denise Knight used her mayoral casting vote on Thursday night to defeat a rescission motion that was aimed to stall the project's development after a four-all councillor vote deadlock.

"This is absolutely the right decision for the future of our wonderful city and I'd like to thank the community, my fellow councillors, the Advisory Group and the staff who've been working so hard on this project for their enthusiasm and support," Cr Knight said. 

"We've known all along that a project of this size takes guts, vision and determination to get done and it's not a decision anyone takes lightly.

"But it's been amazing to see how people have seen, understood and embraced the huge opportunities that this unique building will bring to Coffs Harbour. I'm so looking forward to seeing it take shape."

Cr Knight, and councillors George Cecato, Michael Adendorff and Sally Townley voted against the rescission motion, while councillors Keith Rhoades, Paul Amos, Tegan Swan and John Arkan voted for the rescission motion.

Councillors had been locked in a bitter standoff after the four opposed to the project walked out of the July 26 meeting; refusing to vote on a rescission motion which would have stalled the project.

The Cultural and Civic Space building will incorporate the historic fig tree in Riding Lane.
The Cultural and Civic Space building will incorporate the historic fig tree in Riding Lane.

Thursday's meeting commenced with Cr Rhoades, who moved the rescission motion, pleading with his fellow councillors to reconsider their support for the project.

Cr Rhoades began his right of reply to his rescission motion by asking once again about studies into the feasibility of City Hill given the studies are still ongoing.

The current Coffs Harbour museum inside the old Coffs Harbour Police Station and Courthouse building on Harbour Drive will be sold.
The current Coffs Harbour museum inside the old Coffs Harbour Police Station and Courthouse building on Harbour Drive will be sold.

"What if it turns out, at end of day, we get a report back and it absolutely puts another site - it might not be City Hill it might be Brelsford Park - well and truly in front of Gordon St?

"So for this very valid reason why aren't we waiting for the outcome of this report?"

It was explained how $75,000 had been put aside by council in recent years for investigation of new cultural facilities at City Hill and that $68,000 of that money remained unspent.

The new Gordon St building will include a regional gallery, central library, regional museum, multipurpose meeting rooms which can also be used as the Council Chamber for meetings, a co-working space, shop, cafe, the Family History Group, function space, the council customer service area and council offices.

Rigby House will be the fourth council-owned property to be sold.
Rigby House will be the fourth council-owned property to be sold.

Funding is to be sourced through $10.5 million from council cost-savings reserves, an expected $20.54 million from the sale of Rigby House, council's customer service centre and chamber in Castle St, buildings in Rose Ave and the museum on Harbour Dr.

The council will borrow approximately $46m, but is said to be in a good financial position to service the loans.

The build should start next year with completion in 2022.