By MEL MARTIN
There won't be another Harbour plan so have your say this time
HAVING learned from the community backlash the last Harbour plan attracted, Coffs Harbour City Council have taken a softer approach to Harbour Plan 2, and left the harbour's future largely up to the community.
But it comes with a warning that this is our last chance to develop the harbour area.
NSW Lands Minister Tony Kelly yesterday joined council at the Jetty Foreshores to launch the new concept Harbour plan and to call for public comment.
"Coffs Harbour is based around the harbour, but it needs substantial work," he said.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for the Coffs community and industry to have a say on the future of its greatest physical asset, the harbour."
This time, the NSW Government has committed to return any funds generated through the use of Crown lands in the area (not including the tract of land along the railway, currently leased to the Australian Rail Track Corporation) to the maintenance and sustainable development of the harbour.
And this would get council out of a financial pickle, as it would fund dredging the harbour, upgrading the boat ramp, and maintaining the breakwaters.
Coff Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades said the main concerns raised about the last Harbour plan ? which was seen as encouraging over-development and was rejected in 2004 ? had been removed.
"All the issues have been addressed, the fact the scale of accommodation east of the railway has gone is a win straight up," he said.
"We haven't rushed this process, but we want the community's views and opinions," he said.
Over the past 10 years, Coffs Harbour has seen eight proposed strategies for the harbour, but Cr Rhoades said this was Coffs Harbour's last opportunity for an improved harbour area.
"There won't be a Harbour Plan 3," he said.
"The NSW Government has a commitment not just to Coffs Harbour but to the entire coastline of NSW and at the moment they're working on 27 other projects like this one.
"If at the end of the day it is totally rejected by the community, we're going to end up with what we've got here for many years to come, the harbour will continue to fill with sand and there will be no assistance from the government. We don't want them to walk away."
Community and industry consultation will end on February 20, 2007. Responses will guide a draft masterplan, which is expected to be available for public exhibition and comment from June 2007.
In August 2007, a preferred masterplan and development control plans will be sent to the NSW Department of Planning for determination.
You can pick up copies of the concept harbour plan documents from council's administration building and council libraries in Coffs Harbour, Toormina and Woolgoolga, as well as the Department of Lands office (36 Marina Drive), Corindi Post Office and the general stores at Ulong, Red Rock, Coramba and Nana Glen.
Alternatively, the documents are available at www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au or by calling 6648 4087.