CHCC new general manager Steve McGrath.
CHCC new general manager Steve McGrath.

New look at Coffs area

COMING into Coffs Harbour as a new resident, Coffs Harbour City Council’s new general manager says he can see that the city has a need for ‘a bit of renewal’.

Steve McGrath took over the reins of the city’s biggest business in November and is in the midst of major planning for the future of the regional centre with councillors and staff.

Asked what was his opinion of the economic situation of Coffs Harbour, Mr McGrath said he was not as familiar with the city’s retail activity as the Chamber of Commerce but the challenge for the council was how to get rejuvenation and investment not only in the city centre but fanning out to other centres.

“The City Centre Plan has the potential to help but it is a real challenge,” Mr McGrath said.

“The minute you relax the planning controls outside the city centre, you won’t get rejuvenation of the centre.

“The strategic planning framework is a real challenge.”

The Director of City Services Ben Lawson , whose responsibilities include oversight of the council’s Economic Development Unit, said he did not think the city’s economic situation was as gloomy as the figure of 16 businesses closing this year suggested.

He said the figures available in terms of gross regional product and unemployment and the results of the Chamber of Commerce business confidence survey showed many positive indicators for the local economy.

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