The earth moved
By BELINDA F SCOTT
QUITE a few sods had been discreetly shifted by earthmovers JK Williams well before the crowd arrived for yesterday's official soil-turning ceremony at North Sapphire Beach, where a new subdivision is taking shape.
Developer Anthony Cougle disappointed Coffs Harbour mayor Keith Rhoades by handing him a well-polished spade instead of the giant scraper the mayor said he had hoped for.
Mr Cougle said the first stage of the development, which will offer 38 blocks of varying sizes including four beachfront lots, would be on the market within 18 weeks, with prices starting from around $250,000.
Planning for the innovative subdivision, to be a beachside village with four different parks and reserves, a beachside cafe, gardens and a $100,000 playground, has taken three years.
But its success has given considerable satisfaction to a surfer who spent his childhood pushing Tonka toys around in the sand of Sapphire Beach.
The plans for the 70ha site put together by the family company won Mr Cougle and his planning team a Planning Institute of Australia Award in 2005 and he and his family now live on the site.
Standing alongside the developer and the mayor yesterday was Gumbular Julipi elder Uncle Tony Flanders, who welcomed the visitors to Gumbaingirr country.
Stone axes and other Aboriginal implements found on the site during development work will be preserved by local elders and will be returned to the land by them, while acknowledgement of the site's Aboriginal heritage is included in the village plan.
The village will include 38ha of green space and 9km of landscaped walkways and cycleways.
Expressions of interest in land and houses at North Sapphire Beach are being taken by LJ Hooker Coffs Harbour.