Seniors simmer

By BELINDA SCOTT

SENIORS in Coffs Harbour are simmering with resentment over the fate of their phantom seniors' centre, still missing in action after more than 10 years of lobbying and planning. Nambucca, Macksville, Bellingen, Woolgoolga, Dorrigo and even Urunga have seniors centres but Coffs Harbour, by far the region's biggest centre, does not. And it's not for want of trying. "We've lobbied three councils so far and we thought we were almost up to the barrier until March," said the president of CHERP, Win Howard. "But with the 'vision splendid' we could be back in the melting pot until 2014." Mr Howard was referring to the new $52 million, 10-year plan espoused by the mayor and deputy mayor of Coffs Harbour, Crs Keith Rhoades and Ian Hogbin, who want to redevelop Brelsford Park into a civic precinct containing a new council chambers, an entertainment centre, community and seniors centre, art gallery, library and other community facilities. With more than a quarter of the city's population aged 55 and over, and this number steadily increasing, the seniors are fed up and getting madder by the minute. Representatives of seniors groups are vividly aware that many of their present members may not be on deck to see the opening of a seniors centre in 2014. The Senior Citizens Steering Committee has now written to the mayor and every Coffs Harbour councillor expressing their disappointment with their inaction and asking where and when the council will spend the $2 million voted to a seniors centre in March. The steering committee represents 1160 members of four different seniors groups and its members have spent almost two years researching and planning for the seniors centre which was to have been built at 218 Harbour Drive. "We want them to name a location and a start date," steering committee member Malcolm Meyers said. The president of the Coffs Harbour Seniors Citizens Club, Harry Brown, said seniors had been battling for a seniors centre since 1993. The secretary of the Coffs Harbour Senior Citizens Club, Isobel Murphy, said the proposal to locate the seniors centre in Brelsford Park, fronting Curacoa Street, was 'completely unsuitable' but the park corner of Earl Street and Harbour Drive would suit the seniors.



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