Rail land sale a catalyst
AFTER years promoting planned harbour development, Coffs Harbour City deputy mayor Bill Palmer says it's time for a reality check.
A regular harbour swimmer, Cr Palmer is passionate about how the harbour is developed. He has previously proposed a cultural centre could be located in the quarry area.
“It's not a foregone conclusion, but it's pretty certain we're going to lose the nice, open approach to the jetty foreshores,” Cr Palmer said.
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) land at the end of the Jetty restaurant strip, formerly used as informal carparking, is currently listed for sale.
“They will want their pound of flesh for what is valuable commercial land,” he said.
While bemoaning the necessity for government authorities to gain a return on their land holdings, Cr Palmer is hoping ARTC will enter into a joint venture for the benefit of the community.
“Let's squeeze them for a joint venture that will benefit all parties. The strip extending from the crossing to the overhead bridge could be the commercial precinct. Backing onto the rail line, or even over the rail line could be a combination of business and residential.
“ARTC's obligation in this deal would be to present the community with a generous portion between the developed area and the current Jordan Esplanade as parkland, allowing some of this for carparking.”
Constructing a beachside boardwalk, food kiosk and clearing some of the dunal vegetation also have merit, according to Cr Palmer.
“A recent visit to Cairns confirmed what I have always believed is the need for a boardwalk-style promenade on the eastern side of the vegetation. There is constant activity day and night on the Cairns waterfront,” he said.
“There is not a noticeable need for a lot of retail activity in the area. One bistro-style restaurant/takeaway food outlet seems to suffice in the area.
“Some of the understorey vegetation should be cleared and levelled so that you can approach the beach on our foreshores without having to find a track.”