Brelsford soon to be transformed

SLOWLY but surely, a senior citizens/multi-purpose centre for Coffs Harbour is getting closer.

A city council meeting on Thursday decided to embark on a design brief and tendering process for construction of the centre, which will be the first facility to be developed on a new Brelsford Park cultural precinct.

The council's concept plan promotes the creation of a 'city park' setting for the centre, as well as a performance centre and a new combined art gallery and library.

The $33-million transformation will be implemented in two stages. The first part ? the building of a seniors/multi-purpose centre ? is due to start later this year, while other parts will proceed over the next six years.

Cr Ian Hogbin said it was important to remember the history of Brelsford Park and what it had been used for as part of the re-development.

"It's important we do start to have some history recognition of that site," Cr Hogbin said.

Cr Jenny Bonfield hoped the seniors/multi-purpose centre would operate cost-effectively.

Staff reassured her they would have this in mind when preparing the design brief, which would include energy efficiency.

Submissions to the cultural precinct plan raised concerns about the site layout, parking, loss of parkland, building design, costs and the safety of park users.

The Brelsford Park plan of management, which allows the development of the seniors/multi-purpose centre, is on exhibition until April 11.

The council will consider that plan in May.

The mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, said a 'well-constructed city park, combined with a much-needed cultural precinct, will truly put our city on the regional map as a mature and growing community'.

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