IT WILL HAPPEN!
By BELINDA SCOTT
WHEN is something going to happen at Brelsford Park?
Not yet. Maybe in three to six months. Maybe.
With news the multi-purpose centre site has had the thumbs-down, Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Keith Rhoades is coy about when or even if, work on the planned seniors centre/multipurpose centre will begin on Brelsford Park.
This pushes further into the future the proposed entertainment centre, the next cultural cab off the rank.
Coffs Harbour City Council general manager Stephen Sawtell said yesterday council was about to start a review of council-owned sites around the city centre as well as looking at the way the multipurpose centre project fitted in with other major infrastructure plans.
"Interim investigations so far have indicated that the multipurpose centre needs to be closer to the city centre and more accessible to its users," Mr Sawtell said.
Meanwhile he said council was already looking at updating the facilities being used by some of the groups.
The planned site review follows work by Sydney-based TRACT Consultants, the firm that worked on the redevelopment of the city centre, which gave the thumbs-down to the last location proposed for the multipurpose centre, on the corner of Albany and Curacoa streets.
Cr Rhoades said they had asked for the site review to be done as a matter of urgency and he hoped it would be completed in four to six weeks. He said since the plans had been done, once the new site was selected, it would be back to the community. He said those plans included a 250-seat auditorium.
The president of the Coffs Harbour Senior Citizens Club, Phyllis Condon, said her group had been happy to attend their first meeting with the mayor and general manager last week and she was happy with the alternate locations suggested so far ? the corner of Harbour Drive and Earl Street; the corner of Albany Street and Earl Street or where the present grandstand is located.
But she said she would also be happy with another location as long as it was convenient, within walking distance of the city centre or on a bus route.
Mrs Condon has been lobbying for a seniors' centre in Coffs Harbour for about 15 years and attended meetings on the topic in the Civic Centre before the town hall and supper room was demolished some 10 years ago.
Swapping the civic centre to the Coffs Ex-Services Club for land on Hogbin Drive for a university campus helped to found the Coffs Harbour Education Campus, but it was always intended to build a new entertainment centre.
Since then more than eight different locations for entertainment venues have been considered ? City Hill, where a major cultural precinct was proposed, including an art gallery, artists' studio, entertainment centre and other facilities; a large marquee on the Jetty Foreshores, similar to those used for Cats and Grease travelling musicals; a new building on Fitzroy Park; conversion of the showground pavilion; conversion of the former three-cinemas complex in Vernon Street; conversion of the former Bunnings North building and modifying Sportz Central in Bray Street for use as an entertainment venue.
Concept plans for the redevelopment of Brelsford Park as a cultural precinct, including a seniors/multipurpose centre and entertainment centre, were first put in display in 2004.
In May this year the community was invited to comment on the design for the first stage of the project, the construction of the multi-purpose centre.