SCU Head, Professor David Lynch.
SCU Head, Professor David Lynch.

A clearer vision of Coffs future

THE establishment of a Port Authority to oversee the revitalisation and development of the foreshores/marina precinct; a renewed focus on the area's eco-tourism potential; the building of a 'virtual' cultural heart for the city; and better promotion of the city's recreational opportunities.

They were just some of the ideas which surfaced during the second Coffs Community Forum on Wednesday night.

Around 120 people gathered in the lecture theatre at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus ahead of workshops which aimed to chart a vision for what people wanted Coffs Harbour to become.

To describe the gathering as enthusiastic, spirited and motivated would be an understatement.

Steve McGrath, the general manager of the Coffs Harbour City Council, which is a partner in the forum series with Southern Cross University and the Coffs Coast.

Advocate, outlined the process behind the Coffs Harbour 2030 strategy before encouraging participants to be creative, open and bold in their thinking.

The head of Southern Cross University, Professor David Lynch, told the gathering that the university is committed to working with the community to foster change.

"It is time for the rubber to hit the road," Prof Lynch said before the gallery broke into six working groups.

They returned an hour later with a list of short- and long-term outcomes, including many which should be achievable within the next year or two.

Prof Lynch was delighted with the ideas and concepts put on the table.

"The community has come out in force to show they are really behind this initiative and they are ready for action.

"What we have found in the first and second forums is that there are a lot of really good things happening out there. We need to raise awareness of those things and harness that energy."

Professor Lynch, who facilitated the education participation working group, said it was clear one of the key goals was to raise the aspirations of young people and find new ways to engage them in education.

"A number of other ideas were identified in the second forum and we will be working closely with the community and the Coffs Harbour City Council to identify how we can bring these to fruition.

"A common theme across many of the working groups was the importance of the National Broadband Network (NBN) and the potential this has for our community.

"We need to ensure we make the most of this opportunity across a whole range of sectors, including business and health."

Professor Lynch said he was looking forward to the final forum on October 19.

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