Facelift for foreshores

THE race is on to secure Federal Government funding to kick-start stage one of the long-awaited Jetty redevelopment.

Council staff spent yesterday working on a submission to win almost half a million dollars in infrastructure funding.

While the revamp of the strip typically described as “the jewel in the crown” of Coffs Harbour is long overdue, it is a much more pressing political imperative that is driving the dash for cash.

Councillor Keith Rhoades used a mayoral minute to state his case for urgency at a council meeting.

“Applications for round three of the Government’s Regional and Local Infrastructure Fund have just opened and will close on July 30,” Cr Rhoades said.

“But if an election is called, the Government will be placed into caretaker mode and virtually shut down and we can’t be sure what will happen if the government isn’t returned.

“We need to ensure that any submission we make for the available $456,000 is lodged quickly so that it can be considered and approved before the election is called.

“Coffs Harbour has been very lucky so far with allocations from the Infrastructure Fund, we’ve received more than $7 million and I want to see us get even more money from the Federal Government to do what needs to be done.”

Cr Rhoades then called for councillors to nominate projects which were ‘spade-ready’ and therefore eligible for a share of the Federal dollars.

It was Cr Jenny Bonfield who nominated the Jetty.

“I’d like to see work on the foreshores redevelopment to be our top priority,” Cr Bonfield said.

Cr Mark Graham nominated the West Coffs bicycle track, Cr Kerry Hines asked her colleagues to consider a regional skate park and Cr Denise Knight thought work on the coastal walk would be worthwhile.

All were however ruled out as not being ‘spade-ready’ with detailed planning for all still not complete.

Cr Rhoades built the case for the Jetty redevelopment by pointing out that Council will get 75 per cent of the proceeds from the imminent sale of Crown land at the Jetty to the Pet Porpoise Pool.

“That commitment includes the need for that money to be used at the Jetty,” Cr Rhoades said. “The first stage of the Jetty project has been budgeted to cost $1.2 million so if you add the Federal Infrastructure funding to the Pet Porpoise Pool money, council wouldn’t need to find anything else to get the work done,” he said.

Cr Mark Graham said talk of the Jetty redevelopment had come quickly so he was wondering what the Mayor was envisaging.

“The stage one program is well planned and well known in the community,” Cr Rhoades said.

“It involves new amenities blocks with sewerage connected, revamped shelters and barbecues, a connection back to the Jetty strip, improvements to drainage and the widening of the access tracks to Jetty Beach to open up the vista,” he said.

Cr John Arkan gave the concept his full support.

“It all seems very achievable especially in light of the Pet Porpoise Pool arrangement,” Cr Arkan said.

“It would seem affordable, do-able and a great benefit to the city,” he said.

To meet the needs of the Federal Government’s infrastructure fund, a second spade-ready project also had to be nominated.

A makeover of amenities at Diggers Beach was endorsed unanimously.

All that remains now is for the election to be called later rather than sooner. “For Coffs Harbour’s sake, I hope it is held in September or October so we get our application processed and approved.”

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