With the petition against the Cultural and Civic Space now attracting 10,000 signatures it will be tabled in parliament but Mayor Denise Knight is satisfied the project will go ahead.
With the petition against the Cultural and Civic Space now attracting 10,000 signatures it will be tabled in parliament but Mayor Denise Knight is satisfied the project will go ahead.

Mayor not worried as petition reaches goal to be tabled in parliament

MAYOR Denise Knight is not concerned about the petition against the Cultural and Civic Space.

Today the petition reached its target of 10,000 signatures, which means it can now be tabled in NSW parliament.

It's calling for a halt to the controversial CBD development which will include a regional gallery, library, museum, meeting rooms and cafe along with council offices. It's the council office space that has attracted much opposition.

"Council offices have been part of the plan since 2016 - this has always been clearly stated," Cr Knight said.

"And there will be no rate rise," she said in response to fears of cost blowouts impacting on council's ability to fund the project.

Prominent businessman Steve Gooley has thrown his weight behind the petition and wants a full government investigation into what he says is the 'flawed process' behind the $76.5 million project.

But Cr Knight says she is more than satisfied with the process.

"I'm not worried about the petition at all. This is probably one of the most highly scrutinised prossesses I've been a part of," she said.

"This is the best facility, in the best location for all Coffs Harbour residents, and all our planning up to this point supports this."

Mr Gooley is the General Manager of the Bachrach Naumburger Group with well-known business interests in the Jetty area and Park Beach Plaza.

"If this was being built at Park Beach Plaza we wouldn't be having the trouble we are having now," Cr Knight said.

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But Mr Gooley denies he is trying to protect his business interests.

"My company obviously has interests in Park Beach and at The Jetty but a healthy CBD has an impact on Coffs Harbour as a whole, so we want to promote a strong CBD but this is not the answer to a strong CBD," he said earlier this week.

 

Marian Partos, Ann Leonard, former Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser, Fran Stevenson, and general manager of the Bachrach Naumburger Group Steve Gooley with the petition which is close to getting the 10,000 signatures required to be tabled in NSW Parliament. Photo by Trevor Veale
Marian Partos, Ann Leonard, former Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser, Fran Stevenson, and general manager of the Bachrach Naumburger Group Steve Gooley with the petition which is close to getting the 10,000 signatures required to be tabled in NSW Parliament. Photo by Trevor Veale

On August 8 Cr Knight used her casting vote to proceed to detailed design and construction phase; breaking a long-running stalemate with councillors split four against four.

The project will now move to the procurement phase which includes calling for quotes and tenders.

Funding is to be sourced through $10.5 million from council cost-savings reserves, an expected $20.54 million from the sale of Rigby House, council's customer service centre and chamber in Castle St, buildings in Rose Ave and the museum on Harbour Dr.

The council will borrow approximately $46m.

The build should start next year with completion in 2022.



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