Packed agenda for Coffs Harbour councillors

EVERYTHING but the kitchen sink will be up for discussion at tomorrow night's Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.

In a 935 page meeting agenda, items to be considered by councillors range from the location of a new cultural hub, proposed free camping sites for RV's and the 2016/17 budget.

First up is a rescission motion put forward by councillors Sally Townley, Mark Sultana and John Arkan calling for the council's operational documents to reflect funding cuts to the conservation and management of biodiversity.

Funding has halved to $109,000 due to the reduction of one staff member - an issue that dominated the last council meeting on June 9.

Cr Townley questioned why the $109,000 saving was moved to the council's general fund, despite the funds being raised through the environmental levy for biodiversity outcomes.

Cr Arkan has meanwhile called for a seawall to be built along the Woolgoolga Beach Reserve.

It comes after recent damage from this month's east coast low and would be designed to reduce dangers associated with erosion.

Also heading for the councillors' vote is the adoption of the 2016/17 operational plan and proposed fees and charges.

The operational plan includes a 7.75% residential rate increase - a rise that will cost the average ratepayer an additional $132.06 next financial year.

Arts and culture also feature on the agenda, including the proposed location of the new Harry Bailey Memorial Library and Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery.

It is recommended the development be constructed on council land at 23-31 Gordon St - one of 11 sites considered for the upgraded cultural hub.

The long-standing issue of a free camping site in Coffs Harbour for self-sustainable vehicles and RVs has meanwhile been put forward in a motion by Cr Sultana.

Cr Sultana said the relocation of the "dump point" on Phil Hawthorn Dr presents an "excellent opportunity" for a new site to include a camping area and would address instances of campers illegally dumping rubbish.

The meeting is not expected to escape controversy, with issues surrounding the council's business entity - Coastal Works - set to resurface.

Cr Townley has put forward a motion requesting the council seek an independent investigation into the business unit - a move backed by the Civil Contractors Federation and Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser.

In a staff comment, the council says the Office of Local Government is currently assessing the need for further action into Coastal Works after the council last month provided the OLG with detailed documents and information.

In planning matters, Councillors will be asked to progress the residential strategy that addresses projected population growth over the next 15 years.

The strategy looks at challenges and issues including Coffs Harbour's ageing population, and development estates that are isolated from key services.

Other items include voluntary pension rebates for domestic waste and environmental levy charges, the local impact of the State Government's biodiversity reforms and a proposed 17 metre sign at Coffs Harbour's Home Base.



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