Mayor shoots down courthouse rumours
COFFS Harbour Mayor Denise Knight has scotched rumours the current Coffs Harbour courthouse and police station site is under consideration as a possible location for a new entertainment centre.
"One lady brought it up by email months ago but we have not even considered it," Cr Knight said.
"We don't own that land, so it would double the cost.
"The (courthouse and police station) site is owned by the State Government.
"We have always said that we would have to build on council land. The two sites being considered are Lower City Hill and Gordon St."
The Commonwealth Government gave Coffs Harbour City Council the large City Hill site many years ago, with the proviso it be used for cultural purposes.
The site currently houses the Bunker Cartoon Gallery and Coffs Harbour Bridge Club, but the majority remains open space.
More recently, the council has gradually acquired a large block of properties fronting Gordon St between Vernon and Coff Sts.
With the process of public consultation now under way on a new cultural centre, art gallery and library, and a possible future rate rise to pay for them, the Mayor warned against comparisons with Port Macquarie's Glasshouse cultural centre.
Widely praised for its design and its ability to attract major shows to Port Macquarie, the high initial cost and upkeep of the facility is still controversial in the Hastings community.
She said instead of comparing itself with Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour should learn from the Glasshouse experience.
As a better comparison, Cr Knight pointed to the Dubbo entertainment centre, which she said seemed to meet the community's needs better than the Glasshouse and which came in on time and on budget when it was constructed.
The mayor of Dubbo is providing information on the Dubbo entertainment centre project to assist Cr Knight with Coffs Harbour's proposal.