LIVE: Packed agenda at Coffs Harbour Council meeting
LIVE: Packed agenda at Coffs Harbour Council meeting Trevor Veale

LIVE: Councillors vote in favour of wage increase

6.33PM: Meeting wraps up. Thanks for joining us.

6.31PM: Cr's Townley, Sultana and Cowling voted in favour while Cr's Rhoades, Deagens and Knight were against.

Cr Knight had the casting vote. 

An independent investigation into council's commercial entity Coastal Works is voted down.

6.27PM: General Manager, Steve McGrath hits back saying that Cr Townley's claim is unfair because there were briefings prior to Coastal Works.

Mr McGrath grows frustrated with Townley's accusation councillors didn't know about Coastal Works.

Cr Rhoades interjects and says Cr Townley and Mr McGrath's toing-and-froing isn't part of meeting processes.

Cr Deagens backs the general manager about the briefing.


Cr Townley put forward the motion and urged councillors to employ the Office of Local Government to ensure the controversial entity is operating in best practice.

The motion came following the Civil Contractors Federation and State Member for Andrew Fraser calling for an investigation into Coastal Works. 

Cr Townley said councillors were unaware of the establishment of Coastal Works.


6.15PM: CR Sultana puts forward a motion for options to be considered for a camping area for self-sustainable and RV vehicles in Coffs Harbour.

He asks for a council report to come back to a future council meeting on the viability of a designated camping area at the end of Phil Hawthorne Dr, on land opposite the go-cart and motorbike track.

He says the proposed land is not being used and is a "perfect spot to allocate (a camping area) to let Australia know we are RV friendly".

"This is going to stop a lot of the illegal camping at places like Diggers Beach and down at the Jetty," he says.

"I think it would be a good thing for Coffs Harbour, and not really harming anyone by having them in that area".

Cr Rhoades responds, saying "if you think it's going to stop people wanting the ocean views, we're kidding ourselves".

The motion carries unanimously.


6PM: COUNCILLORS unanimously vote in favour of voluntary pension rebates for 2016-17.


5.50PM: COUNCILLORS are given an update on the effects of the reduced developer contributions for secondary dwelling developments of 60sq m or less.

Secondary dwellings or "granny flats" are covered by a State Government policy addressing affordable rental housing.

It aims to provide housing for workers close to businesses, and facilitates the development of housing for the homeless and other disadvantaged people.

35 secondary dwellings have been approved by the council in Coffs Harbour since July 2015.

Cr Sultana says "let's hope the Coffs Harbour community really take advantage of it and keeps it going."

The rebate's net financial effect for the council has been a loss of $229,233 in water and other contributions.


5.47PM: Planning proposal for Bonville Caravan Park and biodiversity reforms are carried by council


5.40PM: 23-31 Gordon St is chosen as the preferred site for the Harry Bailey Memorial Library and Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery.

Cr Townley says it will result "in a landmark cultural opportunity for Coffs Harbour".

Cr Keith Rhoades asks if there will be public access on Riding Ln from the Castle St carpark. He says public access is "paramount".

Cr Townley says several options - including a footbridge - have been discussed to address the lack of shortcuts from the carpark.

Cr Cowling says the preferred site has been vacant since 2004.

She describes it as "12 years of wasted rates and wasted money".

"I would hope the council doesn't do this in the future - you can't have a building vacant for that long just in case you might need it for something," she says.

Cr Sultana questions what will happen to the site of the current art gallery when the proposed cultural hub is built.

General manager Steve McGrath said it could "be utilised to satisfy some need of council... or some other commercial use".

The motion for the preferred site carries unanimously.


5.30PM: NEXT up on the agenda is the council's budget and operational plans.

Councillors vote unanimously to adopt the Delivery Program 2016-20, Operational Plan 2016-17, Delivery Program Budgets 2016-2020 and Fees and Charges 2016-17.


5:20PM:  MOVING through the agenda now to the wages of councillors.

Cr Rhoades says councillors deserve the pay they receive for their all work in Local Government.

Minutes later, the councillors vote in favour on their pay rise.

In Cr Arkan's absence, the council defers his notice of motion for a seawall in Woolgoolga until the next meeting. 

Woolgoolga beach sea weed. 21 June 2016.
Woolgoolga beach sea weed. 21 June 2016. Trevor Veale


5.15PM: FIRST up is a rescission motion on the environmental levee project schedule.

Cr Townley, Cr Sultana and Cr Arkan have asked for operational documents to reflect funding cuts to the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity.

Funding has halved in the biodiversity program to $109,000 due to reduction of one staff member.

Cr Townley says funding should not be moved to the council's general account, as it was tied to specific environmental purposes.

Cr Sultana, Cr Cowling and Cr Townley vote in favour of the rescission motion.

Cr Rhodes, Cr Degens and Cr Knight vote against.

Cr Knight uses her casting vote and the rescission motion is rejected. She gives notice to put forward a motion of notice to review the entire environemental levy project for 2016, 2017 and 2018.


5PM: The meeting begins with six councillors present. Cr John Arkan is absent from tonight's meeting as is Deputy Mayor Cr Garry Innes.

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