Mayor’s commentary amusing: Fraser

ANDREW Fraser says he is “just amused” by the furious response of Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Keith Rhoades to his salvo over the Coffs Harbour Showground.

“My remarks were purely about the Showground,” Mr Fraser said.

“Maybe community pressure over the sell-off of public land is getting to him.”

Mr Fraser was referring to the widespread community upset over the Coffs Harbour City Council’s proposal to sell off a number of small urban reserves around the city and concentrate improvements and resources in larger parks as part of the Draft Open Space strategy.

“Everyone is interested in the disposal of lands,” Mr Fraser said.

“I’ve stayed out of the debate over the sell-off of public space but he has invited me in.”

Mr Fraser raised, in parliament last week, the issue of the future of the Coffs Harbour Showground Recreation Reserve, saying several references to the Showground in the Draft Open Space Strategy indicated that it could be redeveloped.

Mr Fraser said on Wednesday he had assurances about the future of the Showground as public space from the NSW Minister for Lands Tony Kelly, who had suggested he might need to speak to the council.

The Showground administrator Kate Young, who is awaiting the first draft of a new management plan for the Showground, also denied any intention to develop the area outside its role as public space.

Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Keith Rhoades accused Mr Fraser of running a political campaign against him because the mayor had not shown his hand about whether he would contest the State or Federal government elections.

Cr Rhoades, who also heads the Country Mayors’ Association, has previously contested the state seat of Coffs Harbour as an independent. The mayor said Coffs Harbour had suffered long enough “because of misrepresentation through politics”.



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