Council debates over Future Fund

FUNDING for the future and surplus land caused the maximum of debate at Thursday’s Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.

Councillors resolved to apply to the Minister for Local Government to form the Coffs Harbour City Council Future Fund under Section 358 of the Local Government Act 1993.

They almost immediately became embroiled in discussions about funding the Fund as they discussed the proposed auction of two blocks of surplus residential land at 2 and 4 Haviland Street, Woolgoolga.

Cr Bill Palmer wanted a percentage of the sale to go to the Future Fund and Crs Mark Graham and John Arkan wanted to see the entire proceeds go to community facilities at Woolgoolga, described by Cr Arkan as ‘the poor cousins up north’.

Cr Jennifer Bonfield said she could not agree with assigning money to the Future Fund before they had a board and its parameters were set.

The mayor Cr Keith Rhoades saw the proposed move to assign the money to a particular community as divisive.

Following extensive discussion, councillors agreed to hold in reserve the proceeds of the auction until the terms of the Futures Board were established or council determined the direction of the use of the proceeds and that this be reported back to council.

If approved, the Future Fund would incorporate the CHCC Protection of the Environment Trust; CHCC Futures Trust and CHCC Cultural Trust.

It is designed to allow donations from the community and from environmental offset schemes to be matched dollar for dollar with government grants.

Deputy mayor Cr Bill Palmer said while it was a small step, it was one in the right direction of raising money for council projects, especially feel-good projects and one of my favourites, cultural things.

Cr Palmer said hopefully there might be people who might mention us in their will.

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