Coffs Harbour City Council voted on Thursday night to progress to the next stage of planning on the Coffs Harbour Cultural and Civic Space development.
Coffs Harbour City Council voted on Thursday night to progress to the next stage of planning on the Coffs Harbour Cultural and Civic Space development. Trevor Veale

Ratepayers should have had a say on civic centre plan

Letters to the Editor

COUNCIL is so sure of its business case for spending $76 million on a "Cultural Centre" that it won't give ratepayers 30 days to examine the 500 pages of documents supporting this expenditure.

After council's business case had been available to the public for four business days, it voted 6:2 to proceed down a path to spend $76 million on a new multi-story administration building, which also contains a library, art gallery and museum.

Without the opportunity to review some very doubtful assumptions supporting the business case, ratepayers have been asked to accept the fact that a council, which has been struggling to reach a small budget surplus, can borrow an additional $45-million, without it having a significant impact on its forward budgeting and its ability to provide core services.

The group of people wanting to question the business case support the need for a new library, art gallery and museum.

However, they believe that there are other far cheaper options to provide these facilities, without forcing ratepayers to take responsibility for repaying a $45 million loan.

If both the business and the general community either support this expenditure or simply don't care, then the small group of people who think it's a bad idea, should stop agitating.

People must understand that it's no good starting to complain when your rates go up and council services are cut.

Before I stop annoying some councillors and staff, I invite council to explain to the public.

  • How it is going to generate $20-million by selling three commercial properties without a long-term tenant?
  • Why is it going to divert $10-million, which could be used to provide its core services, to partially fund its administration centre /library, art gallery and museum?
  • How is moving the library and art gallery a couple of hundred metres closer to Harbour Drive going to invigorate the town centre?
  • When the project starts to exceed the $76-million already forecast, how will council fill the shortfall?
  • How it can substantiate the courageous projections for increased tourist numbers visiting the art gallery, library and museum?
  • As it's ratepayer's money who amongst the councillors and senior staff has any experience in the property development industry?

Peter Wardman,

Coffs Harbour.

The location of the new Cultural and Civic Space.
The location of the new Cultural and Civic Space. Contributed

Entertainment & art

THE council's $75 million upgrade to the present gallery, library and administrative facilities is fine, however the new proposal is not in any way addressing the need for a true cultural centre.

When the $75 million is spent we will still not have an entertainment centre or a proper cultural facility.

With the new proposal I hope that sufficient parking is available onsite so that older residents can have easy access.

To liken it to Port Macquarie's Glasshouse is incorrect because the Glasshouse is an Entertainment Centre including art.

Unfortunately, for Coffs Harbour there is nothing in the future with any proposal for an entertainment centre.

It's all in the too hard basket and unfortunately there is nobody remotely interested in supporting an entertainment/cultural centre.

With a city of this population a cultural centre is a must.

If it's sporting facilities, money is no problem.

Gordon Whittle

Church/Christianity
Church/Christianity John Weekes

Faith versus atheism

IT'S a a bit fashionable, and a bit "progressive", these days to call yourself an atheist.

Such people don's say they believe in nothing. More often they say they believe in "science".

That a thing is true only if science backs it up. How can they say that?

Where is the science proving that only science is true? There is none.

Such an assumption is the blindest of blind faith.

Science-alone believers are the ultimate fundamentalists.

There has to be a better basis of belief to base one's life on.

Arnold Jago



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