Council clear on what people want
THE revamp of our jewel in the crown, the Jetty Foreshores, was the big ticket item in the Advocate’s pre-election reader snapshot.
You sent an unequivocal message to our civic leaders and our now-returned local member, Andrew Fraser, that action is needed to revitalise this important precinct.
Today we can announce that, in the months ahead locals and visitors will see dramatic improvements to foreshores facilities in the first step of the major facelift.
We spoke to Coffs Harbour City Council’s director of corporate business, Craig Milburn, who leads the council’s internal Jetty Foreshores working team, about those plans and what people can expect.
What is going to be put to councillors for their consideration at the next council meeting regarding beautification of the Jetty Foreshores?
“Basically what we are putting to councillors at the April 14 meeting is that they approve maintenance works on an area that we have the care and control of.
“That is in direct response to us securing $457,000 from the Federal Government under their regional local community infrastructure program and we have to match that dollar-for-dollar. So basically you are talking about $950,000.
“Our staff are yet to provide a detailed briefing to councillors regarding what is proposed and the detail of the works.”
What is the proposed budget for the works and who is funding it?
“That will be $950,000, funded jointly by the Federal Government and Coffs Harbour City Council.
“It’s a welcome grant. It gives us a good amount of money to do much-needed maintenance.”
What is the time frame for the works to start and finish?
“The time frame is we will start straight after the council meeting in mid-April and finish before Christmas.”
Will there be public consultation on the works?
“It is maintenance works, so normally we don’t do extended public consultation.
“It’s within the terms of the plan of management for the Jetty
Foreshores but we are meeting with the Jetty Action Group and Jetty Dunecare to let them know what we are actually doing.
“We have met them previously as well.”
What will people see at the end of the works program?
“Until we have actually given the councillors a good briefing I really can’t get into specifics.
“However, I can say that, in general, people will see improvements to the public amenities at the Jetty Foreshores, the barbecue areas, some of the seating, and there will be a general clean-up and painting.
“The area we are talking about is the land from the Marina Dr roundabout and heading south along Jordan Esplanade.”
Is this part of an ongoing, multi-pronged development plan?
“Yes, the council has an internal working group doing both short-term planning, which is this work I have just outlined, and then a longer-term plan.
“The long-term plan is about what are the other upgrades that the community is asking for, and that came out of the Advocate survey when most people said they want to see redevelopment and appropriate tourist development.
“The long-term plan will involve extensive consultation because we should consult. It’s part of our policy to consult.
“We have to do that to make sure we have the majority of the community on side with it.
“We will consult broadly.”
How significant was the feedback from Advocate readers regarding the Jetty Foreshores improvements?
“I think from a community perspective it’s very significant. You’ve got 700-plus respondents and the results are very clear that the community wants some appropriate upgrades of the foreshore area including good quality tourism.
“The survey results are one mechanism of feedback for us.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the high percentage in favour. It clearly says the community wants something to happen down there.”
When will we start seeing some of the improvements people expressed their support for in the Advocate survey?
“With the short-term works people will start to see some
improvements immediately, so between now and Christmas the work down there will happen and it will improve the amenity of the area. The long-term works will be dependent on the outcomes of the community consultation, planning and funding.”
Will access to the Jetty Foreshores be cut during the upgrade work?
“During the short-term (maintenance) works there will only be limited access to the areas where the maintenance work is occurring.
“The rest of the foreshores will be free and open to the community.
“In regard to the long-term plans, it is too early to tell about access being restricted.”
What land can the council do anything with and what land is Crown land?
“All of the Jetty Foreshores land is Crown land. We have the care and control of a certain area of it, that being the public strip of land east of Jordan Esplanade, including the dunes. That is the land we have control over.
“We work really well with the NSW Government’s Land Property Management Authority. We work really closely with them.
“We have talked to them about the maintenance works and it is a constructive relationship.”
How important is it to complete this first upgrade in time for Rally Australia in September?
“We will be prioritising the works to get the key elements of the short-term maintenance works completed prior to the rally and that will be dependent on the weather. We don’t expect all the works to be completed by then.
“We will have many visitors in the city for the rally and the more we can do down at the Jetty
Foreshores to make it nice and enjoyable, that means our visitors will leave with favourable comments and spread the word.
“It’s just by chance we got this Federal Government grant to coincide with the staging of the rally.
“The Foreshores is a great place for locals and visitors to experience and enjoy. We want everyone to visit this special place.”