Jetty improvement needed

By DAVID MOASE

JETTY Action Group (JAG) member Wayne Evans insists the community group is 'not anti-development' when it comes to making plans for improvements to the harbour area.

"We're anti-foolishness," he said.

JAG was formed to fight Coffs Harbour City Council's Harbour Plan released in November 2003.

Describing the plan as 'inappropriate development', the group was part of the tide of resistance that eventually led to the plan being shelved following the March 2004 council elections.

With the council now working towards the formulation of a modified plan, JAG is part of the consultation process, with representatives on the Opera- tion/Specific Users Group, which is intended to provide feedback and ideas to the Harbour Plan Strategic Planning Group.

Mr Evans said JAG supported 'low-key' development around the harbour.

"What we're saying is we want improvements at the harbour but do not want to see a change to its character as a passive recreation area," he said.

"As soon as you have a plan that is too extravagant, then you have to go for large-scale commercial development to pay for it."

JAG is working to produce an alternative plan, which Mr Evans said would feature improvements to basic amenities, car parking, landscaping, and an Aboriginal heritage trail.

Development of tourism facilities and residential accommodation to the east of the railway line will definitely not be part of JAG's proposal.

Resolving ownership of land near the railway line is one of the key issues in formulating any harbour plan, Mr Evans said.

JAG members resolved at a meeting this week to approach Infrastructure Minister Craig Knowles to ask for the State Rail land to be gifted to Coffs Harbour City Council for use as public open space.

Mr Evans said the land needed to be taken away from State Rail and declared off limits to developers otherwise there would always be the possibility of a development similar to Ocean Gem, which has been built on former State Rail land at the Jetty shopping strip.

JAG is planning a public barbecue at the Jetty Fore- shores on March 20.



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