Centralise Coffs CBD

“LEAKAGE of business” from the Coffs Harbour CBD is on the minds of City councillors.

The issue was debated and approved as a mayoral minute on ‘election priorities’ on Thursday night.

One item on the minute was to ask for a response from the Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser on redevelopment of the CBD and, in particular, plans for the large site currently occupied by the Forests NSW depot on the corner of the Pacific Highway, Beryl St and June St.

The mayoral minute said: “NSW government offices need to be located in the CBD, not as proposed on the Forests NSW depot site.”

“The substantial office space required by NSW government departments will, along with other opportunities currently being pursued by council, provide the scale required to drive redevelopment of the CBD which was identified as a key objective of the city centre plan.”

Cr Jennifer Bonfield said over 31 years she had seen leakages and fragmentation of the city and if they allowed development on the outer fringes it would ‘rip the heart out of the town”.

“We need more CBD office space, not on the edges,” she said

Later, Cr Bonfield, a member of the tourism board, said she thought the proposal for a cafe, high ropes course and interpretative centre for Sealy Lookout and ‘connections’ to other activities was a good move.

A sky lift up to the lookout is also part of the long term plan.

“This has been talked about for six or seven years,” Cr Bonfield said. “My only concern about the project is the road going up there (to Sealy Lookout).”

Cr Bonfield also said she thought “careful and delicate” development of the harbour and jetty foreshores would be “the soul and heart of Coffs Harbour when it goes ahead” and said she looked forward to being able to stroll the area in safety and comfort on a hot night. “There are a few too many drug dealers down there and there are things happening in the dark that we don’t dare talk about,” she said.

She said drug dealers had moved out of the former city centre mall after its redevelopment and down to the harbour.

Cr Mark Graham opposed the minute. He was particularly unhappy about any proposals to develop around the harbour and foreshores because of information in the new coastal hazards study which estimate much of the area will be under water by 2050 due to climate change and rising sea levels.

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