City gets chance to show off again

By DAVID MOASE

MORE than 1000 visitors are expected to come to Coffs Harbour in two year's time when the city hosts the 2007 Local Government Conference.

Coffs Harbour was unchallenged in its bid to host the annual event.

It was a pleasing result for the mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, after losing out to the Blue Mountains last year in the bid to host the 2006 conference.

"It was a unique situation to be in, having no rival bidders for the conference," Cr Rhoades said.

"They must have thought we had done such a good job with our bidding last time that we should get our chance.

"There will be tremendous benefits for Coffs Harbour with so many people coming from all over New South Wales."

Cr Rhoades yesterday addressed the 2005 conference in Mudgee, telling councillors and council employees what they could expect in 2007, as well as showing them a pictorial presentation of Coffs Harbour.

"This is a big event. Today we had three State Government ministers here and an apology from another ? that's how much Government attention the conference gets," he said.

Cr Rhoades was unable to say where in the city the 2007 conference would be held, saying there were still contractual negotiations to be completed.

Delegates yesterday had the opportunity to raise questions with the three ministers in attendance, Kerry Hickey (Local Government), Tony Kelly (Lands and Emergency Services) and Joe Tripodi (Roads).

They also started working through the extensive list of motions that are a feature of local government conferences.

Cr Rhoades pushed for councils to look for a new way of collecting levies that help with the cost of providing fire services.

The levy currently comes from house insurance premiums, which Cr Rhoades said is not paid by all householders.

He suggested the funds be raised from a special rate and the levy be removed from insurance bills.



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