Residents lost in council jargon

COMMUNITY consultation about open spaces is being lost in thickets of dense verbiage, according to Coffs Harbour residents battling to understand Coffs Harbour City Council’s Draft Open Space Strategy.

“It’s a mess,” said resident David Fuller.

“It’s a massive document and it’s just not an easy document to read.

“They don’t clearly state in black and white what they are going to do, so you have too really go through and search for the areas they are planning to rezone and sell off.”

Neighbour Peter O’Brien agrees.

“The jargon is difficult to understand,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I am having difficulty understanding it and I have three degrees.

“And maps and images are so low in resolution and lacking in detail they provide nothing but further confusion.”

Two Coffs Harbour City councillors, Cr Kerry Hines and Cr Denise Knight, have at different times suggested ‘an idiot’s guide’ to complex council documents to improve comprehension levels.

Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades was not criticising the dense document but did say he had spent 19 years reading council paperwork.

He said producing simple versions posed other dangers, with residents who opted to read only the ‘executive summary’ not getting the full picture.

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