Coffs ?not a latte town? say the creative classes

ALAS, Coffs Harbour has been dismissed as not a latte town by a prominent columnist.

Sydney Morning Herald columnist Adele Horin, writing in the weekend edition of the SMH, tackled the topic of a new survey on wellbeing which examined life satisfaction in different federal electorates.

The survey found that Sydney's well-off inner west was the most discontented place in Australia, while some of the poor coastal electorates had the happiest people.

Pondering 'seachanging', Adele Horin said members of Sydney's 'creative class' faced a Hobson's choice ? 'stay poor and disgruntled in the inner city or move to a cultural wasteland up or down the coast'. Coffs Harbour, she implied, unlike Byron Bay, was pretty much a wasteland.

Describing desirable seachange centres as 'latte towns' she said 'a latte town looks nothing like Tweed Heads or Coffs Harbour, even though retirees love those places. But it will be more lively than Mudgee, Bathurst or Lismore'. She said an alternative for some was 'to go bush to bucolic Bellingen or some similar place'.

So what is a latte town? Ms Horin says it has the following attributes:

Good coffee; the possibility of joining a monthly book group; a gourmet delicatessen; an environmental group; a decent wine boutique; clean air; light traffic and a weekly produce market.

So far both Coffs Harbour and Bellingen should squeeze into the list. But a quick survey of members of the 'creative class' who have chosen the Coffs Coast as a place to live gave Coffs Harbour the thumbs down on the second half of the list, although Bellingen qualified.

Ms Horin also requires: Cheap but attractive housing; progressive social values; a critical mass of Labor and green voters; that pedestrians inherit the earth; lovingly-preserved heritage architecture; an annual festival and a centre full of entrepreneurs and jobs.

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