Councillor casts shade on Jetty carpark plan
TO go ahead with construction of the Stage 5 Jetty Carpark now, would be premature, Coffs Harbour City Councillor Paul Amos has warned.
The carpark is slated for land where the carboot market is held, east of the railway just back from the beach, north of Marina Drive.
The matter was up for discussion at the recent Council meeting with the carpark one of two projects selected for funding from the Federal Government's $500 million Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.
Council was allocated $1.38m from the fund to spend on infrastructure projects ready to be executed before June 30, 2021, as a form of rapid injection of cash into the local economy.
The focus of the grant is the enhancement of existing, or creation of new, Council infrastructure which has a direct community benefit.
The two projects deemed to best fit the criteria were the Jetty Foreshores Stage 5 Carpark and the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden Glasshouse Project.
The report before Councillors on Thursday evening suggested allocating $600,000 for the carpark and $782,096 for the glasshouse.
But Clr Amos argued that the "missing link" West Coffs cycle way (Stage 4 - 6) should be funded to the tune of $615,000 instead of the carpark.
He faced strong opposition from Clr George Cecato who has long championed the Jetty as the jewel in the crown of our city.
He spoke of the personal attacks he has received over the years for pushing to see the area revitalised.
"I have been spat at and called all kinds of names...because I was standing up for the facts.
"And now the fact is this (the Jetty revitalisation so far) is one of the most successful projects that this Council has undertaken in the last 20-odd years."
Stages 2-4 of the revitalisation project involved the construction of an 'open plaza' area with wide shallow steps onto the northern end of Jetty Beach; the market and events space; and boardwalk around the dunes and vegetation, linking all the elements to the historic Jetty.
But Clr Amos said it would be premature to build the Stage 5 carpark given State Government plans for the area have yet to be finalised and that completion of the West Coffs cycle way was long overdue.
Clr Townley also expressed concerns that drainage and the potential impact on the market space to the south of Marina Drive could be impacted if the project was rushed.
Ultimately Clr Amos was unable to alter the motion and all remaining Clrs voted to support the original motion to fund the Stage 5 Carpark and a new glasshouse at the Botanic Garden.