An artist's impression of an updated Coffs Harbour city square.
An artist's impression of an updated Coffs Harbour city square.

Revitalising the heart of the city

DETAILED design work is now being finalised to revitalise the heart of our CBD, City Square, with an estimated $2 million of improvements expected to start after Easter.

The revitalisation project for City Square is part of the $10 million Coffs City Centre Masterplan program, which is funded through a special rate variation provided by property-owners in the CBD.

Chairman of the City Centre Masterplan committee, Rod McKelvey, said the Masterplan established the guiding principles to revitalise Coffs City Centre, as well as the priority strategies and projects to improve it. One of the key Masterplan projects was the City Centre upgrade.

"The committee and business and property-owners are excited to see that this major project can start next year, following extensive consultations with business and the broader Coffs Harbour community and significant input into the design by interested parties," Mr McKelvey said.

"The Masterplan's vision is to create a place where economic, social and cultural pursuits fuse to enrich and enliven all who live, work and visit the City Centre.

"City Square will get a totally fresh face, with new landscaping, permanent shelter structures, new paving and lighting and innovative design that will make the Square flexible to accommodate a range of events, both large and small, while still able to accommodate existing events such as the Coffs Coast Growers Market.

"Architects, with community input, have created a look and feel for City Square that will give our Square a contemporary, urban feel while retaining its character as a community space."

An artist's impression of an updated Coffs Harbour city square.
An artist's impression of an updated Coffs Harbour city square.

A key objective for the design solution is the ability to provide for regular outdoor performances in the square including drama, live music, films and to provide a connection to world events.

The space is to be used all year round, yet in non-performance times, it also needs to maintain its attractiveness and vitality.

"The challenge has been to create a vibrant space without 'dead zones' or redundant spaces. The spaces should have vibrancy and interest yet not be over cluttered - a balance between the retail needs of private cafés with performance and the civic meeting/seating needs of the space is needed," Mr Kelvey said.

"City Square will set the tone for a range of other improvements around the City Centre, including landscaping of Park Ave and installation of new shade sail structures at eight focal points around the CBD, to define the City Centre."

Retailers, businesses and property-owners have been involved throughout the planning and design processes and extensive consultation will take place during construction staging and throughout the construction phases.

"Council and the Masterplan committee are sensitive to the needs of business to be able to continue operations throughout construction so we will time the construction to fit within the expectations of traders and will work with them throughout the construction to minimise impacts both on trade and on the customer experience.

"The committee will work with traders and the community to explore ways to activate the space effectively during week days and on weekends and infrastructure such as optical fibre and audio visual connections are being installed or upgraded as part of City Square works to ensure the space can cater for future requirements."