The draft Open Space Strategy has been extended to the public for another month.
The draft Open Space Strategy has been extended to the public for another month.

Open Space Strategy extended

COFFS Harbour City Council has bowed to community pressure and extended public exhibition of its controversial draft Open Space Strategy for another month.

The draft – which proposes selling some public green spaces – was put on display on March 26 and the exhibition period had been due to close next Friday. It will now remain open for submissions until June 4 as will public exhibition of the draft Sports Facility Plan.

The decision follows a city-wide outcry about proposals to sell a number of small parks and criticism about the difficulty of reading and understanding the draft document.

Further confusion about the sale of blocks of council land was clarified yesterday by the council’s director of corporate business, Craig Milburn.

Mr Milburn explained that four blocks of land that were listed for auction – in Woolgoolga’s Haviland Street and Sapphire’s Warrawee Street, were unrelated to any of the reserves in the current draft Open Space Strategy.

The council’s acting director of city services, Jenni Eakins said there had been a great deal of public comment on some of the contents of the document, specifically 15 small parcels of open space.

These are located at Sunset Avenue, Crabbe Street, Norman Close, Lights Street, Topaz Drive, Parkes Drive, Bellwood Place, Manning Avenue, Island View Close, Greenlea Crescent, Peterson Road, Robert Garrett Street, Burridge Avenue, Bray Street and Dirrigeree Crescent.

“Clearly, these proposals have generated a great deal of concern, which we expect to see reflected in the submissions,” Ms Eakins said.

“The purpose of putting draft strategies and plans out for consultation is to be able to hear the community’s views, so that they can be taken into account before any document is adopted as policy.

“However, we’re hoping that by extending the public consultation time, more people will take the opportunity to take a look at the whole draft Strategy – and the draft Sports Facility Plan - so that we get as much feedback as possible.”

Meanwhile residents opposed to the sale of the public reserves have formed a group, Save Our Spaces (SOS) and arehosting a free community barbecue in the Robert Garrett Street reserve from 10am to 2pm today and inviting all inyterested resients to join them.

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