Open spaces not for sale

The Robert Garrett Street reserve will play host to a protest meeting tomorrow.
The Robert Garrett Street reserve will play host to a protest meeting tomorrow.

A COFFS Harbour Councillor is staunchly denying claims that sale of public ‘open space’ land is a foregone conclusion.

Councillor Jennifer Bonfield refuted the claims made yesterday by some residents that prior to community consultation, the lot numbers of smaller parks had already been spotted on auction lists.

Ms Bonfield, who is also a real estate agent, said this was not correct and the parks had not been placed with any agents.

“Until council decided to do it (sell), that would be in breach of protocol and against all local government regulations,” Cr Bonfield said.

The proposed sale of some of the reserves has aroused strong feelings in the community and tomorrow morning will see a free Save Our Space barbecue held in the Robert Garrett St reserve from 10am to 2pm.

Residents have joined forces to provide the barbecue and want everyone concerned about the proposed sale to come along and show their support.They have also invited Coffs Harbour City councillors to attend.

Cr Bonfield said she and a number of other councillors, including Cr Paul Templeton, Cr John Arkan, Cr Mark Graham and Cr Denise Knight, were ‘getting in our cars and having a look individually’ at the reserves mooted for disposal so they would have all the information needed to vote on the matter.

“A lot are being looked after by the community and some are absolutely delightful,” Cr Bonfield said.

“Some are not being used and are a bit scrappy.

“I know the council is in a bind financially and we are slowly going south and this scheme is to put money in the coffers.”

Cr Bonfield said she had sent an apology to the organisers of the SOS barbecue because Saturday was her busiest working day.

Cr Kerry Hines, who is also a real estate agent, backed up Cr Bonfield’s remarks.

“I get an update of everything that is going on the market and I have not heard of it ,” Cr Hines said. “We have not even discussed the recommendations at this stage.”

“I have asked if all councillors can do a bus trip around these places to assess them together.

“I know most of (the reserves) already but I’ve suggested we all do it together. Every responsible business looks at what assets it has and re-assesses them if they are no longer used or are becoming a liability.”

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