LINKED: Concert promoter John Logan has welcomed a move to improve access to the Botanic Garden.
LINKED: Concert promoter John Logan has welcomed a move to improve access to the Botanic Garden. Trevor Veale

Bridge plan to clear concert bottlenecks

ONE of Coffs Harbour's leading concert promoters has welcomed a move to improve access to the Botanic Garden.

John Logan has attracted many big names to town and is involved in events such as the World Rally Championships and International Buskers and Comedy Festival. He was behind the sold out Paul Kelly concert at the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden in November last year.

"People love that site. It's a relaxed, green site close to the city centre. You don't have to drive out of town, down some bush track,” he explained.

However, there's one major problem with the venue, and that's access.

"We (John Logan Entertainment) intend to keep using it for major events in the future, and we've got some big names in the pipeline, but there is a real issue with access. You have to park in one of the side streets and, if you're lucky, walk about 800 metres along a narrow path.

"I hate to say it but if anything was to happen you only have the one exit and that's back down the same narrow path. It's a real issue and it was pointed out to me by police after the Paul Kelly concert.”

Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight has similar concerns with access to the popular venue and raised the issue at the June 14 council meeting highlighting her experiences at the Japanese Children's Festival.

"Cars were parked in driveways, nature strips and some distance away I saw multiple instances of aggression and frustration,” she said.

She raised the possibility of using the showground, which remains empty for long periods of time, for parking and linking that parking space with the garden via a footbridge over Coffs Creek.

Council staff were tasked with exploring the possible options and as Director Sustainable Infrastructure Mick Raby points out it's early days and the solution may be a multi-agency one as the showground is on Crown Lands and managed by a community trust.

The showground is just one location being considered with another possibility being the council depot at Marcia St.

"We are still in the exploratory phase. Putting the bridge in isn't the difficult part, it's finding an appropriate site for parking.

"The creek flows around the gardens in a u-shape so you could potentially put in a bridge at one of many locations.”

He estimates the requested feasibility report into the footbridge is "a few months away yet.”

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