Pub argument spills over into council meeting

WILL it be a beach bar for 500-strong crowds or a relaxed dining venue for 57?

Will it deafen the neighbours and crowd council car parks or will it improve the streetscape and add live jazz to the sounds of the seashore?

Ben Kelsall's controversial proposal for a beachside tavern at Woolgoolga will be considered by Coffs Harbour City Council at an extraordinary council meeting at 5pm tomorrow.

His proposal to demolish the Beach Motel at 78 Beach Street and replace it with a three-storey building which includes a tavern, eight units, a rooftop swimming pool and basement car park has split the Woolgoolga community.

The $10 million development proposal has attracted 190 submissions, 125 in favour of the proposal and 65 against.

Mr Kelsall and John Coady, a consultant for tavern opponent Harry Barry will address councillors at tomorrow's meeting.

Harry Barry, the manager of Woolgoolga's Seaview Tavern, said yesterday he could handle competition but wanted a level playing field for all developments.

He believes Coffs Harbour City Council is trying to rush through approval for the new tavern and so has put less stringent requirements on the applicants than have been applied to his development applications in the past.

The Beach Street tavern applicants are under pressure because they applied for a liquor licence under legal requirements which were altered midway through 2008. Urban planner Rick Bennell, who is a consultant for Mr Kelsall, said they had been working on the plans for two years.

He said if their DA was not approved this time, they would have to start again.

Mr Barry said most people did not understand that the proposed tavern would hold 500 people, a larger number than the existing Seaview Tavern, which is licensed for 466 people. Mr Bennell said the proposed tavern did not have the capacity for 500 people.

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