City Hill for arts centre
A PERFORMING arts space on City Hill, as now planned by Coffs Harbour City Council, reverses a push by former mayor Jennifer Bonfield to concentrate public facilities in the centre of the CBD.
City Hill is about 400 metres south east of the previously-favoured site of Brelsford Park.
Cr Bonfield was not present for the discussion at the Coffs Harbour City Council meeting, during which councillors voted to quarantine City Hill as the future site for a performing arts space and new art gallery and develop a master plan for the site.
The new plans concentrate on the lower portions of the 11-hectare site.
A previous plan in 1998, which never eventuated, proposed a civic centre on top of City Hill.
Cr Denise Knight, who moved the motion to select City Hill and include the gallery, said the present art gallery was far too small and moving the gallery in with the entertainment centre would allow the library to spread out into the present art gallery space, saving money.
Cr Mark Graham was unhappy about including the whole of the City Hill site in the selection process for a performing arts centre, saying there was a narrow strip of koala habitat on the western side of the site, but he was “very supportive” of the use of the lower parts of the site abutting Hogbin Drive.
Cr Knight asked if there was not already a map showing where an entertainment centre would go on City Hill.
“Some years ago there was a plan for a building on the top part (as above), which never progressed,” said the director of land use, health and development, Mark Salter.
Cr Rodney Degens raised the matter of the large parcel of CBD land owned by council in Gordon Street.
“It would be an ideal spot for a cultural centre,” he said. “People could walk to restaurants.”
Cr Knight said Cr Degens had a good point, but an entertainment centre with at least 650 seats needed plenty of parking.
“Gordon Street is a lovely street, but not for an entertainment centre,” she said.
“Lower City Hill is an ideal site.”