New heritage advisory site service

COFFS Harbour City Council is expected to adopt a new heritage strategic plan at tonight’s meeting of council.

The strategy has been prepared by Coffs Harbour City Council’s Heritage Contact officer in consultation with the council’s external heritage adviser, Ms Robin Hedditch, who attends council one day a month.

Coffs Harbour City Council has operated a heritage advisory program for about eight years, although it has remained a low-key council activity.

A heritage strategy was first prepared by council in 2003, which was updated in 2006 and again in 2009.

Questions were raised some years ago by the Sawtell Progress Association and other Sawtell residents over the level of protection afforded to historic buildings in Sawtell by the Coffs Harbour City Council.

The new strategy continues many of the same strategies and activities.

This includes the Coffs Harbour City Council Heritage Executive Committee, the role of which is to assist with heritage survey work; provide informal advice to council and the community on planning promotion and management of the city’s heritage resources and overseeing the implementation of the Local Heritage Fund.

The fund assists landowners of heritage-listed sites in the general maintenance and care of their properties.

It is funded dollar for dollar by the Department of Planning’s Heritage Branch and the council.

The DoP Heritage Branch also provides one-third of the funding for a heritage adviser.

The Coffs Harbour area includes both Aboriginal heritage items and early European settlement sites.

The council has allocated $38,000 p.a. in its budget to allow for heritage expenses for the next three years.

The council’s existing proposed strategic plan includes surveying and legally protecting all the heritage items in its area, as well as encouraging best-practice conservation and leading by example in taking good care of its own heritage items, including halls, schools of arts, cemeteries, historic parks and street trees.

The plan also requires the council to encourage best practice conservation by providing free heritage advisory services, promotion and incentives.

The council plans to continue its heritage advisory service at current levels but plans to prepare a more comprehensive list of heritage items for insertion into the Coffs Harbour City Council Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan.

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