Call to Council to ditch plans for entertainment centre

MUSIC industry identity Phil Tripp told two Coffs Harbour public meetings on Thursday that a new performance centre was not viable for Coffs Harbour and would not be supported by promoters.

He addressed Coffs Harbour City councillors during a public forum at Thursday's meeting and later spoke at a public gathering at C.ex Coffs Harbour called to support City Hill as the location for any future cultural centre.

American-born Mr Tripp has recently retired to Coffs Harbour after a 40-year career in the music industry as a tour manager, production manager, artist manager, record company executive, publisher and editor.

He said he did not want to pay the high rates that would be required to fund construction and maintenance of such a centre, which would be dark about 50% of the time.

"Unfortunately I have to deliver the bad news - we cannot afford it," he said.

Mr Tripp advised the councillors to make more use of existing facilities, like C.ex Coffs Harbour and Club Coffs, venues that offered 850-seat and 500-seat performance spaces for indoor events and were dark 60% (C.ex) and 50% (Club Coffs) of the time.

He warned residents against building an "edifice" for the sake of civic pride and said an entertainment centre was not a sensible option for the city.

He also warned against using Dubbo as an example to compare with Coffs Harbour, saying he had interviewed those involved with the Dubbo centre and compared population statistics.

"Dubbo is an inland city with a younger population with higher incomes than Coffs Harbour," Mr Tripp said.

"And they added on to an existing building."

Mr Tripp also criticised the council's recent survey to estimate the level of interest in new cultural and performance spaces for the city, both for being online-only and for being easy to "game" or manipulate.

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