Work that one out...
By DAVID MOASE
THE NSW Maritime Authority will be forced out of its harbourside office at the end of next month and relocate to an industrial estate on the southern outskirts of Coffs Harbour.
Rather than being located alongside the Water Police, the Coffs Harbour Slipway and other marine businesses and facilities, the Maritime Authority will be based in a warehouse in Isles Drive.
The move, described by the organisation's North Coast regional manager, Jim Green, as 'short term', comes after the NSW Department of Lands, which owns the Marina Drive building at the harbour, decided not to renew the Authority's lease.
It is believed the Department of Lands will consolidate its Coffs Harbour offices to the harbourside location.
Mr Green acknowledged the move may inconvenience some boat users, who make registration and licence payments at the Maritime Authority office.
"But it would be more convenient for people who live and work on the southern side of town," he said.
"It is probably a similar distance from the CBD."
Maritime Authority officers will now have to travel from Isles Drive to the harbour to get to the agency's patrol boat.
The member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said someone should put a handbrake on the relocation and reassess the plans.
"The authority charged with maritime safety will now be located in an industrial estate kilometres away from the water," he said.
"It's all a joke and shortsighted."
Mr Fraser said the location of the new office would mean people wanting to renew licences or registrations before heading onto the water would have to go kilometres out of their way to do so.
"People trying to get boating licences will now have to get them from the back of nowhere," he said.
"This is the only safe harbour on the NSW North Coast and anyone arriving here by boat and wanting to contact the Maritime Authority will have difficulty (finding them)."
The Maritime Authority plans to stay at the Isles Drive address for about six months while it searches for a more permanent office.
"We have to seek an alternative but there is nothing available east of the railway line," Mr Green said.
"Our boat is at the harbour and that would be the most convenient place but the office could also be in the centre of town."
Coffs Harbour City Council general manager Mark Ferguson said there were a number of reasons additional office space was not available at the harbour.
"The lack of available parking would be the main issue stopping any extra building going ahead," he said.
"The creation of additional office space is not something the council would be looking for in that area."
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